Time off paid off for Viking
VIDALIA — After playing basketball all throughout junior high school, Vidalia High School’s Terrell Virgis decided it was best if he took a year off from playing on a team.
Virgis, now a senior, looks back on that time as critical in his development to become a high school basketball player.
“I didn’t feel like my game was good enough to play high school ball, and I wanted to practice and get better,” Virgis recalled. “I also didn’t feel like my grades were good enough.”
Virgis said he knew he would have to play in the low post in high school, something he wasn’t exactly comfortable doing at the time.
“Playing in junior high, I didn’t have a good low-post game, so I wanted to develop my game,” he said.
And he couldn’t have picked two better people to help him. Vidalia High School players Torrey Dixon and Alvin Bell — both members of the Vikings’ 2010 state championship team — took Virgis under their wing and helped teach him the ins and outs of post play.
“They taught me to play strong, play smart and have good footwork,” Virgis said. “They really stressed good footwork.”
Dixon said he remembers Virgis coming to him for help and wanting to make a difference in the younger player’s life.
“He had potential to be a good post player,” Dixon recalled. “You have to be multidimensional (to play post). If the other guy’s bigger than you, you bring him out, and if he’s smaller, then you go ahead and back him down.”
Virgis said the experience he gained from Dixon and Bell was invaluable after he started playing for the high school team his sophomore year.
“They showed me a lot of good tricks and techniques that, when I put them into my game, I saw big improvements,” Virgis said.
Dixon said the most important things he taught Virgis was to maintain a high confidence level, stay humble and have fun while playing the game.
“If you have fun, you play better,” Dixon said. “At the same time, you have to have the mindset of, ‘I’m not going to be afraid to battle with someone, no matter how big or athletic they are.’ They’re human, and you just have to battle with them.”
Though he felt like the time away was good, Virgis said he missed being on a team his freshman year.
“I somewhat regret missing it, because I didn’t get to play against other teams like I did my 10th grade year,” Virgis said.
With the Vikings’ missing the playoffs, Virgis said he’s going to miss playing with his friends.
“It kind of hurts, because I love my team dearly, and it will hurt not to play with them anymore,” Virgis said.
Virgis also said he thinks the Vikings should have gotten in.
“Most of the teams we lost to, we could have beaten, but things didn’t go our way,” Virgis said.
Virgis said he would like to continue his basketball career in college. He is currently looking at Northwestern State and Southern University. He is the son of Anthony and Lisa Virgis.