Bearcat pair sign with colleges

05/16/2014 4:42 PM

05/29/2014 12:35 PM

As of Friday morning, Rock Hill’s Warren Vinson and Gracie Barnes will play college sports.

Vinson signed to play basketball next season at Spartanburg Methodist College, while Barnes will join her older brother at The Citadel, where she’ll play volleyball.

Vinson, a 5-foot-11 guard, opted for Spartanburg Methodist to get bigger, better and attract more exposure. The All-Region selection qualified academically for NCAA but didn’t receive the kind of offers he was seeking.

“Junior college is like getting recruited all over again,” he said on Friday.

Vinson knows he needs to get stronger physically.

“I can’t be going down there and getting pushed all over the place,” he said. “Can’t let that happen.”

Rock Hill coach Eric Rollings thinks that Vinson is one of the sleeper prospects in this year’s recruiting class, in large part because of his mentality.

“He was always one of the ones that was in the gym first, last one to leave. Any free time he had, he was always working on some aspect of his game,” said Rollings.

Vinson isn’t the ideal tall or thick build, but he can score, an ability that should translate quickly at the college level. He hit 55 3-pointers last season for the Bearcats, while averaging close to 20 points per game.

“They need scorers down there, and he’s definitely a kid that can shoot the basketball,” said Rollings. “He can flat shoot it.”

‘All-around player’

Barnes’ brother, Wriston, is a junior at The Citadel. Initially, that was a turn-off for Barnes. She was more interested in going to Clemson for purely academic pursuits.

“At first, it wasn’t an influence at all. I was like, ‘I don’t want to go there,’” Barnes said. “But then I went down there for my official visit and that’s what just changed my mind. The atmosphere is really opening and welcoming.”

Barnes won’t have to shave her head, but she will have to cut her hair.

“I’m not sure about the logistics yet,” she said with a nervous laugh.

Rock Hill volleyball coach Cindy Elder had many kind words to say about her departing player. She commended her on juggling roles as the team’s comedian and leader, simultaneously. That kind of versatility wasn’t limited to her personality, either.

“She was our outside hitter and our primary defensive player,” said Elder. “She’s an all-around player. Volleyball’s gotten so specialized now, they either play back row or front row, but Gracie’s capable of going all the way around.”

Barnes, who will study biology with the hopes of becoming a dermatologist, has a grade point average around 4.5, typical for Elder’s volleyball team, which had a 4.1 team GPA. Barnes joins teammates Christen Bragg (Coker) and Sutton Alexander (Wofford) in playing college volleyball.

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