Former 3A state champion and Plainview basketball star Jeffery Armstrong is headed to Hattiesburg to take the next step in his playing career.
The Bears’ all-state point guard from their 2018 state title run signed recently to join the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles.
On his signing day, Armstrong expressed how grateful he is for all the training and support he received while playing for the Bears and head coach Robi Coker.
“This is a dream come true,” Armstrong said. “I truly believe this never happens if I don’t make the move to Plainview. Plainview is a special place and I am so thankful for all the people that helped me along the way. The guys accepted me and played a big part in this. We are really like family and I am thankful I was able to play with such a special group of guys.
“I can’t say enough about the coaching staff. The support and instruction along with just being around them helped me so much in my life. Coach Coker helped me elevate my game and put me in a position to succeed. There’s no telling how many phone calls or emails he sent out to colleges. He was so helpful through this stressful process and I always knew I could trust him for advice. I can’t express how special Plainview is to me and my family.”
Armstrong may forever be remembered by Plainview faithful for his game-winning assist that set up Caden Millican’s last-second, go-ahead 3-pointer in his final game as a Bear in the 2018 Class 3A State Championship Game against Hillcrest-Evergreen.
Armstrong finished that state title game with 18 points, eight rebounds, five assists and five steals. He earned All-Tournament honors and ASWA first team all-state honors in his senior year after earning second team all-state honors as a junior.
Armstrong spent this past year playing at Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Virginia. Massanutten has produced several top prospects over the years, including Frank Mason III, who won the 2017 National Player of the Year award with the Kansas Jayhawks.
Armstrong will now play for coach Jay Ladner, who was named Southern Mississippi’s head coach in April after coaching at Southeastern Louisiana for five years.
Coker said he is excited to see Armstrong continue to play at the next level.
“We are extremely proud for Jeffery to be afforded this opportunity,” Coker said. “We have all witnessed the amount of time and effort he has committed to making this dream possible. To be able to see him mature as a player and man has been a true joy to watch. He is an incredible young man that has certainly left a lasting impression on our school and community. Coach Ladner and assistant coach Kyle Roane did a great job of recruiting him, and I’m thankful he’s going to be able to play for quality coaches that will do right by him. It’s a great fit for him as a person, and I’m excited to see what the future holds for Jeffery.”
Southern Mississippi plays in Conference USA and went 20-13 overall last season with an 11-7 mark in conference play.
Armstrong said that the team began pursuing his talents after the coaching change and that he’s excited to join the Golden Eagles.
“Southern Miss really started recruiting me hard after the coaching change,” Armstrong said. “Coach Ladner and coach Roane are very down-to-earth people that I felt very comfortable with. After I visited, we felt really well about it. Being in Conference USA was certainly a positive for me and my family, and it’s close enough to home that my family can see me play. My goal is to continue to get better and be able to help our team be successful.”