By Jake Winfrey
The Cullman Times
COLD SPRINGS —
On and off the court, Chayse Elliott has been a leader for Cold Springs throughout his basketball career.
So, it should come at no surprise the talented senior was looking to take his leadership to the next level.
Elliott took his first step to accomplishing just that Wednesday morning, inking a basketball scholarship with the University of Alabama-Huntsville Chargers.
“It’s really exciting for me,” Elliott said. “It’s going to be a big jump from a small 2A school to the level of play at UAH.”
Elliott added he’s looking forward to the challenge.
“The competition will be totally different up there,” he said. “But I’m just thankful for the opportunity to be able to play and to show them what I can do.
Elliott chose the Chargers over a bevy of other schools, including William & Mary, Lipscomb and Army, saying UAH felt right to him in several ways.
“I think the biggest reason I chose them was the coaching staff,” he said. “Coach (Lennie) Acuff and his staff are great. I think he’s one of the best people I’ve ever met, and I feel like I’ll fit in really well with the staff and the other players.”
The main thing Elliott is hoping to bring to the Chargers is his dedication to the defensive side of the ball.
“I think I can be really good defensively for them,” he said. “I want to be able to guard the best players on opposing teams, and they have a great system in place for me to do that and to score some points as well.”
While the Chargers’ head man wasn’t at the signing due to his team participating in the Preseason NIT in Kansas, Eagles’ coach Tim Burleson was there to watch Elliott begin another chapter in his life.
“I’m just really, really proud of Chayse,” Burleson said. “I’m proud of the player and the person he’s become.”
Burleson also regarded Elliott’s parents as being a big part of their son’s success.
“Chayse has definitely put in the work,” Burleson said. “But his parents have, too. They’ve driven him to practice and games his whole life.”
Cold Springs’ High principal, Tommy Youngblood called Elliott’s signing “a big accomplishment.”
“It’s big for him, and it’s big for the school,” he said. “Just a great day for Cold Springs.”
Although Elliott’s basketball career won’t end at Cold Springs, the sharp-shooter said he hopes to make his last season with the Eagles one to remember.
“The biggest thing to me this year is winning the county championship,” he said. “I’ve never won one, and I think it’d be a pretty big deal to hang up a banner in our gym.”
Asked what he’d like to accomplish individually heading into his playing days with UAH, Elliott maintained a singular goal: helping his team win.
“I’ve set big goals for us,” Elliott said. “We’d love to be able to get to state and meet that ultimate goal. The individual stuff comes with playing good team basketball and winning games.”
% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 258 or at email@example.com.