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THE GRIND: Horizon's Laws had big shoes to fill
Grind Josiah 7 122414 web
I saw the kind of pressure [Dakota] had on him and I was able to talk to him, get suggestions and advice, Horizon Christian junior Josiah Laws said. Definitely, those are some pretty big shoes to fill. - photo by Micah Green

Horizon Christian’s opponents surely exhaled in relief when Dakota Holtzclaw transferred following the Warriors’ Georgia Independent Christian Athletic Association (GICAA) state title last season, grinning at the thought of breaking the school’s 18-game win streak.

Imagine, then, their exasperation when Josiah Laws, a 6-foot-4 All-County honorable mention selection at Forsyth Central in 2013, enrolled at Horizon for his junior season.

Curtis Eggleston, the Warriors’ veteran head coach, expressed Horizon’s sentiment in a Nov. 14 Tweet. “God gives, God takes away,” Eggleston (@coachegg) wrote. “He did it, in reverse, this year. Thanks, [Josiah Laws], for coming to HCA #repeatchamps15.”
Laws left Central because he wanted to be the go-to guy, a chance he felt he wouldn’t get with the Bulldogs.

“There’s an opportunity to stand out more,” Laws said. “Going to a bigger school doesn’t always guarantee success on the court, which is why [Horizon] appealed to me.”

So far, so good—the junior wing leads Horizon with 17.5 points and 13.8 rebounds per game.

Holtzclaw left Horizon for North Forsyth because college coaches on his recruiting trail wanted to see what he could do against bigger, better competition.

Laws transferred to Horizon in an effort to gain recruiting attention. College coaches took notice of Holtzclaw’s gaudy numbers—will they do the same if Laws keeps up his current pace? That remains to be seen.

Laws was familiar with Eggleston and his staff—after all, he almost attended Horizon for his freshman year but decided against it. Eggleston and Laws have worked on building foot speed, Laws said, and the coach’s confidence in him instilled a better mindset on the court.

It’s rare for an athlete to lament a perceived lack of athleticism. Strange, then, that Laws would acknowledge as much while dunking and hanging on the rim for a photo shoot.

Coming from Class AAAAA basketball and AAU play with Lambert’s Connor Mannion and Andrew Melms, Laws got used to a high-speed, almost frenetic, pace of play.

“[I’ve played] against big, talented guys, and against teams with those guys at multiple positions,” Laws said. “I was ready for more of that at Central but it definitely prepared me for this level.”

Such is the way of life in Forsyth County, a place where everyone seems to be connected to one another, no matter how obscure the reason. Laws knew a few of his Horizon teammates from seeing them around at local recreation centers and in the community.

He also is friends with Holtzclaw. Laws expected the narrative to be about him stepping in at Horizon. If the past 468 words are any indication, Laws was correct.

“I saw the kind of pressure [Dakota] had on him and I was able to talk to him, get suggestions and advice,” Laws said. “Definitely, those are some pretty big shoes to fill.”