By Russell Vannozzi for The Robertson County Connection
GALLATIN – The No. 2 scorer in White House basketball history is taking his talents to the next level.
Senior combo guard Jared Ward recently signed his letter-of-intent with Volunteer State Community College. He chose the Pioneers over offers from Asbury University, Bryan College, Huntingdon College and interest from Lee and Trevecca.
“I was still undecided and was presented the opportunity to play close to home,” he said. “I just thought [Vol State] would be a good fit for two years for both academics and ball.”
Ward scored 1,756 career points, second only to JoJo Dabbs, who tallied 2,807 points and went on to play at Missouri State from 1995-97. Ward’s father, Ben, scored 1,000 points during his high school career in Kentucky, giving young Jared something to work toward.
“I had that goal since middle school,” Ward said of surpassing his father’s point total. “To be second on the list with all those great players, it’s awesome.”
After averaging 21.5 points per game as a junior, Ward’s role changed a bit during his final year when Octavian Arnold transferred from Gallatin and new coach Caleb Cook implemented a new offensive scheme. Ward scored 11.8 points per game as a senior, while Arnold, who signed with Martin Methodist, averaged 18.8 points.
“Jared didn’t let it faze him,” Cook said. “He knew he had someone to carry the load with him. He didn’t have to be the man every night for us to be successful. He played through it and was a team-first guy.”
Ward shot 37 percent from beyond the arc during his career with the Blue Devils, and he said the Vol State coaching staff likes him as a shooting guard. His best performance of the season came against JPII last December, when he went 8-of-9 from three and dropped 27 points.
“He can shoot with the best of them,” Cook said. “If he comes out and makes his first one to start the game, watch out. We tried to get him the ball on the wing as much as possible so he could make something happen.”
Ward said he hopes to transfer to a bigger school after playing two seasons at Vol State. To get there, he’s spending the summer training and bulking up to be ready for the faster college game.
“I’ve already gained like 10 more pounds since basketball season ended,” Ward said. “It’s a lot of weight room training and getting faster and stronger for the next level, because it’s a different speed.”