Braxton Beverly, the former Perry County Central basketball star who left Kentucky for Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., last season, committed to Ohio State University on Monday.
Beverly, currently a post-graduate student at Hargrave, will be the second Kentucky native to play for Ohio State’s program in recent years. D’Angelo Russell, a Louisville native who played high school ball at Montverde Academy in Florida and is now with the Los Angeles Lakers, played at Ohio State in the 2014-2015 season. Beverly will join former teammate Derek Funderburk as the second Hargrave player in as many seasons to sign with the Buckeyes.
A.W. Hamilton, who played at Scott County and Hargrave and is entering his 11th year as head coach at the school, said the best thing about Beverly is “not that he’s an unbelievable player, but that he’s an unbelievable person.”
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That high character revealed itself in a couple of ways last season. He was a co-captain of Hargrave’s national-title team that went 47-1, maintained a 4.0 GPA and has never skipped or been late to any of the military exercises Hargrave demands of its students.
“It’s hard to win national championships, and to do that you have to have special people,” Hamilton said in a phone interview. “Braxton, there’s just something magical about him, man. I think two years from now, you and me will be talking about Braxton hitting a game-winner in the Sweet Sixteen or Ohio State going back to the Final Four with Braxton Beverly scoring 20 points in the Elite Eight. He’s just that type of guy.”
Beverly, a 6-foot, 180-pound point guard rated as a three-star prospect by ESPN, originally committed to Miami (Ohio) a little more than a year ago. He asked to be let out of his letter of intent, assuring the RedHawks that he intended to return to Hargrave for the 2016-17 season rather than sign with another college team.
He averaged 20.1 points, 6.4 assists and 2.2 steals in his first season at Hargrave. That level of performance — which included a 70-point game that broke former Louisville star Terry Rozier’s single-game record at the school — caught the eye of the Buckeyes along with schools like North Carolina State, Clemson and Wake Forest.
The transition from Perry County Central to Hargrave has definitely been “worth it,” Beverly said, and it was so before he committed to a Big Ten school. When he committed to Miami (Ohio), he heard doubters who thought he could have stayed in Kentucky and made the same decision.
“The move from Kentucky to Hargrave was not just for a bigger school or anything like that,” Beverly said. “It was for the ability to be more ready once I got to college, whatever college I decided to go to.”