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For the first time in a long time, area athletes can play college basketball and not leave Union County. El Dorado's Tyler Everette and Mason Lockhart plan to take advantage of that as they signed to play at South Arkansas Community College. Wildcat teammate Joderrio Ramey will play at National Park College in Hot Springs.

Ramey, a 6-3 guard, averaged 18 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game as a senior. Coach Gary Simmons believes the senior's best ball is still ahead of him.

“Jo is going to be as good a player as Jo will allow himself to be,” Simmons said. “I don't think I ever saw Jo play as good as Jo can possibly play. I think Jo's got a whole other game that nobody has even seen, yet.”

National Park College is formerly known as Garland County Community College.

Everette and Lockhart were role players for the Wildcats. Everette, a 5-11 forward, averaged 2.3 points and 2.7 rebounds as a senior. Lockhart, a 5-9 guard, scored four points per game this past season.

“SouthArk got a couple of kids that are going to do anything that they can possibly do to be on the team and to get playing time,” said Simmons. “They're going to be the hardest working kids they have at practice. They're going to bring their 'A' game every day.”

South Arkansas Community College is coached by Nate Davis, who has re-started the program by focusing on local recruiting. The Stars will start playing games in the fall.

“I think it's amazing. There are a lot of kids in this area that I don't think get their fair shake and a fair look by some of the schools,” said Simmons. “But them getting a chance to get two years of education and get better skill-wise and get seen more is going to help high school basketball because the kids are going to work harder because they know they've got a chance to go play somewhere.

“I think Coach (Nate) Davis is going to do a great job. He's fired up about it. He's built a lot of pride already in his program and he's trying to recruit kids that will do the right thing.”

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