Two NHS standouts sign with Hinds CC

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 9, 2016

NATCHEZ — Ernesha Chatman and Zyaire Ewing planned on playing basketball at the same college since they were ninth graders on Natchez High School’s girl’s basketball team.

That dream was signed into reality Friday in an auditorium full of their classmates at Natchez High School when Ewing and Chatman signed with Hinds Community College.

“That’s all we’ve talked about,” Ewing said.

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Added Chatman, “Going to the same school is a plus, because we have the same mindset.”

The tandem will attempt to build on what has been on an illustrious high school career, having won a state championship in their sophomore and junior campaigns.

Chatman is a 5-foot-8 dynamic point guard, while the 6-foot-1 Ewing is expected to serve as a post player at Hinds.

The duo are the first of their senior class to sign basketball scholarships, and teammate Skylar Morgan is expected to sign with her college destination next week. The Natchez senior class is the first class to play all four years for head coach Alphaka Moore.

“(Friday) is a special day because this group was my first team at Natchez High School,” Moore said. “We always had an end goal in mind, which was college. It was about keeping God first and focusing on basketball.”

Chatman said academics are high on her priorities as she prepares for her college career, but was quick to note she has big goals for her basketball career at Hinds.

“Not many people get to go to school for free,” Chatman said. “(My goal is) to be on top of my academics and win a championship there.”

Chatman said she connected with the coaching staff at Hinds, and she thinks they will help her fulfill her bigger aspirations as a basketball player.

“I love (the coaches) and they love the game,” Chatman said. “They’re going to help me get to the next level, which is a (Division I) school.”

Ewing said she connected with the coaches because of the way they built her confidence while she rehabbed from a torn ACL, which she sustained in January.

Ewing said the Hinds coaches share the same determination to get her healthy and back on the court in the short term.

“They had the same mindset that I had,” Ewing said. “The desire is going to help us get to our goal, because we both want it so bad.”

Ewing said the hardest part of her rehab has been pushing through the pain after the surgery, but she said the worst is behind her.

Ewing is back to running, shooting and jumping for rebounds, but remains limited in her ability to make hard lateral movements — cutting and shuffling. Ewing, however, noted she has been running up and down bleachers without serious pain.

“The hardest part was staying mentally focused and pushing myself,” Ewing said. “I won’t say it’s easy right now, but it has become easier.”