Former Natchez star steps up for Northeast

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 29, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; When opportunity knocks, open the door.

Opportunity knocked this week for recent Natchez High graduate Jeremy Houston, who earned his first start Thursday night for Northeast Mississippi Community College.

Following an 0-4 start, head coach David Robbins was looking for a spark, and eventually looked to Houston, who stands all of 6&8217;2&8221; to start at forward for Thursday night&8217;s game at Bevill State Community College in Fayette, Ala.

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&8220;The time I&8217;ve gotten in, I did pretty good,&8221; Houston said. &8220;But I&8217;ve only gotten limited minutes. After we played Pearl River Monday (a 105-87 loss), (coach Robbins) told me to get ready because I&8217;m starting Thursday.&8221;

Robbins said moving Houston into the starting position became a very easy move.

&8220;He works very hard in practice &8212; he&8217;s very consistent in practice,&8221; Robbins said. &8220;He&8217;s kind of small for his position, being a 6&8217;2&8221; forward.

&8220;He&8217;s very coachable, and he has a good understanding of the game.&8221;

While the Tigers dropped to 0-5 on the season with a 70-58 loss to Bevill Thursday, the loss couldn&8217;t be blamed on Houston, who scored 15 points on the night.

&8220;I felt pretty good about it,&8221; Houston said. &8220;I was doing that against guys that are 7&8217; tall.&8221;

Houston said he felt there wasn&8217;t quite as big a difference in the high school and junior college levels as he had anticipated.

&8220;The game speed wasn&8217;t as fast as I thought it would be, but the players are stronger at this level. It&8217;s tough, but it&8217;s all about heart. It&8217;s all about being in the right position on offense and defense and knowing the basic fundamentals of your position.&8221;

Robbins said Houston&8217;s knowledge, as well as his hard work, is making him a valuable part of the team.

&8220;He does the little things that some players won&8217;t do,&8221; he said. &8220;He&8217;ll go on the floor and dive for balls, he&8217;ll rebound and box out.

&8220;He brings a very good attitude to this team. I consider him one of the leaders of this team.&8221;

Houston said he doesn&8217;t plan to finish his basketball career at this level.

&8220;I&8217;m looking to play my two years here and then play another two years somewhere else. I&8217;d really like to go to Alcorn.&8221;