After moving from his home in Montreal to Washington D.C. as a high school junior, former Carroll guard Kenny Chery hit the road again in the summer of 2011, in order to start his college basketball career.
“My first time being in Sedalia,” Chery said, “I really thought in my head that it sucks. I felt like I didn’t want to be there.”
But Chery forced himself to stay and warmed up to the small-town living in the central Missouri town with a population just north of 20,000. It allowed him to focus on school and basketball, where he blossomed as a player. Chery put up countless shots a day in the gym, he said, because “there’s nothing else to do.” And he refined his game in order to find another destination in his basketball career, after his two years with State Fair were up. On Wednesday, Chery found the next stop on his journey: Waco, Texas.
Chery signed his letter of intent to play at Baylor, ending a heavy recruiting process for one of the best junior college players in the country. Chery had earned offers and interest from a number of schools, including UCLA, Wichita State and Arizona State.
“The number one thing were the coaches (at Baylor),” Chery said. “They went all the way to Montreal to meet my mom, to meet my sister, to meet my coaches…it’s just a great school for academics, a great school to play basketball, and just to be part of a great family, that’s really important to me.”
In signing with Baylor, Chery said he also beat the stigma often attached to junior college players – when Division I coaches shy away from players at that level because of academic issues, he said. But Chery said coming from an international background, junior college made the most sense for him on and off the floor coming out of high school.
Chery was heavily influenced by former Carroll star Kris Joseph, a 2007-08 second-team All-Met and another D.C. transplant from Montreal. Joseph went on to star at Syracuse before becoming a second-round pick of the Boston Celtics in 2012.
The 6-foot Chery didn’t expect those type of accolades coming out of Carroll in 2011, nor did he expect to garner the type of Division I interest that he has through two years at State Fair. He averaged 16.4 points and 3.7 assists per game this season – and was a model of consistency – shooting 49.4 percent from the field and 44.6 percent from three-point range to help lead the Roadrunners to a 20-10 record.
Chery was named a National Junior College Athletic Association honorable mention all-America pick earlier this week. And Wednesday’s signing with Baylor was just another reflection on the patience of Chery, who stood firm in his decision to stay in Sedalia, despite his initial trepidations, for two years of development.
“I really thought I would make my own bed to be in the position I am in today,” Chery said. “When you’re somewhere like Sedalia, you’re going to be focused on school. You’re going to be focused on basketball…it really helped.”
NUMBER CRUNCH: 10
The consecutive number of St. John’s batters that reached base safely in the first inning of Wednesday’s WCAC contest against No. 7 Paul VI. The Cadets scored eight runs in the inning and eventually won 11-0 to improve to 13-4.
– North County senior’s Gregg Hauck has overcome a birth injury to his right arm to become an all-county outfielder and a UMBC soccer recruit. The Post’s Brandon Parker has the story, and video can be found here.
– North Point All-Met basketball player Marquis Wright has been granted full release from his national letter-of-intent to Loyola and will likely follow Coach Jimmy Patsos to Siena.
– Kayla Christian provided a key goal late in the first half to help lift No. 4 Chantilly to a 4-1 win over Oakton Wednesday.
WHAT TO WATCH TODAY
Baseball: Bishop Ireton at No. 8 Flint Hill, 4:30
The Huskies (12-2) have won six straight games by a combined margin of 50-8, while the Cardinals (8-7) are looking to re-energize their season after being blown out by DeMatha and Paul VI in the last two games.