On the south end of the Cumberland Plateau, two Forsyth County basketball standouts are teaming up on the next level.
Last week, Pinecrest Academy senior Nick Palmer made it official, then Lambert’s Jake Morris did on Monday as both signed letters of intent to play basketball at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Ga.
Two Forsyth hoops players plucked by a Division III program sitting the clouds.
“I’m really excited,” Palmer said. “I think Jake and I coming in together can do great things for Covenant.”
Morris and Palmer were among the county’s best guards the past several seasons. Morris twice made the all-county team and averaged 9.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 3.0 steals a game last season for the Longhorns before an ankle injury in semifinals of the Region 6-AAAAAA tournament cut his season short. Palmer eclipsed 1,000 points for his career with the Paladins and averaged 17.8 points, 3.8 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.7 steals a game last season to garner all-county and all-region honors.
Before their senior seasons, they were teammates over the summer on the AAU circuit with the North Georgia Heat. Morris running the point, Palmer at the two-guard, vice versa sometimes. Once, in a tournament in Milton, they both scored 18 points in the same game.
“He passing to me, me passing to him,” Morris said. “I think it’s going to be a really good combo [at Covenant].”
Those moments started the conversations about playing together in college that began so casual. But as the recruiting process advanced for both players, casual conversations became more serious.
A few months ago, both players narrowed their list of college choices to three or four schools; Covenant survived the cut.
Last month, each narrowed the list down to two: Morris had Keystone College and Covenant, Palmer had Emory and Covenant.
After Morris and Palmer took their separate official visits, they convened over the phone.
“I told him I was probably going to sign there,” Morris said. “He was like, yeah, I’m probably going to sign there too.”
Both were struck by the same qualities in Covenant. There were the views from the cliffs atop Lookout Mountain. There was the comfort level with sixth-year coach Kyle Taylor.
“Really couldn’t find a negative [thing] about it,” Palmer said. “I just thought that it was the right place.”
Now, it will be their place. Morris and Palmer plan to room together, to occupy the same backcourt for the next four years and to see where they can take the Scots program.
“Going to a school that we knew really nothing about and conquering it together, I think it’s going to be a blast,” Morris said. “I think Nick and I are going to represent the county really well.”