By Bob Sutton
Special to The Alamance News
Two of the top multi-sport high school athletes in Burlington have transferred.
Johnniyus Sharpe and Cam’ron Jones are set to play football and basketball for Reidsville. Both are rising juniors.
Sharpe left Cummings, where he was the starting quarterback last year and a two-year basketball standout. He was the top basketball player in Alamance County public schools during the past season.
Jones departed from Williams, where he was a receiver with Division I football interest and a power forward on the basketball team.
“I didn’t want to leave at first,” Jones said. “I didn’t want to leave all my friends. But I knew all those guys (at Reidsville). … It was just the best decision. Reidsville would be a better move. Reidsville is like a sports school. They’ve been dominating the last few years.”
Sharpe said he was surprised to be changing schools.
“My dad moved because he thought this would be better,” Sharpe said. “Part of the reason was him getting a new job.”
Reidsville has underclassmen Dionte Neal and Kendre Harrison, who’ve been standouts in both sports. The Rams were Class 2-A state runners-up in football and basketball during the past year.
Sharpe and Jones have been playing on a Reidsville summer league basketball team, which is coached by Rams coach Jason Ross. Jones said he has been playing on youth teams with Neal since third grade.
“The coach for the basketball team thinks I’m the missing piece for them to win it all,” Jones said.
Cummings and Williams also have rich traditions in football and boys’ basketball, owners of numerous state championships in those sports.
Sharpe, a guard, averaged 21.7 points and 6.5 rebounds per game as a Cummings sophomore (after averaging 17.2 points as a freshman).
In 12 football games, he threw for 18 touchdowns with three interceptions and 1,810 yards in 2022. He also rushed for 445 yards and nine touchdowns. As a freshman, he was the backup quarterback and played as a linebacker or cornerback.
“It has been pretty good,” Sharpe said of adjusting to what will be a new set-up. “That’s the plan – to get better every day.”
For Williams, Jones had team highs of 12.1 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals as a sophomore. In football, Jones had team highs for receiving touchdowns (9), total receptions (37) and receiving yards (559) in 12 games.
“I like football more,” said Jones, who has an offer from Boston College.
Jones, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound athlete, isn’t on the travel circuit for basketball, but Sharpe has made impressions in recent weeks in some notable competitions in the Southeast.
“It has been going pretty good,” Sharpe said. “I’m getting a little more looks and in front of college coaches.”
Sharpe said he’ll play as a receiver and defensive back for Reidsville. He expects to play the “2” guard spot for Reidsville’s basketball team.
Sharpe had told some teachers at Cummings at the end of the school year that he didn’t plan to be back. Jones’ exit from Williams appeared to come with less warning.
“You pour a lot of energy and effort into your group,” Williams football coach Patrick Stokes said. “You’re trying to help him be the best that he can be. We’ll keep pouring it into the Bulldogs we got.”
Jones, son of former Cummings and North Carolina football standout Dwight Jones, had come through Turrentine Middle School on the way to Williams. Bulldogs basketball coach Tommy Cole said he was the team’s top player. Cole, one of the winningest prep basketball coaches in state history, said outside influences from the Amateur Athletic Union level likely weighed in the decision.
“People get in their ear and tell them things,” Cole said.
The departures leave holes in both sports for Cummings and Williams.
“This isn’t the first time Reidsville has done something like this,” Cummings football coach David Grimm said.
In 2019, football and basketball standout Auldon Edwards left Cummings to suit up for his senior year at Reidsville. That was perhaps more complex as the schools were in the same conference at the time.
In 2015, Southern Alamance lost then-junior quarterback and basketball player Tanner Wilson, who played his last two school years for Reidsville. The Rams won the Class 2-A state title in 2016 in football.
“We’ve lost players in the past,” Grimm said. “There are injuries, transfers, people moving and all sorts of things. You just move on.”
Sharpe played as a defensive back and other positions for Cummings as a freshman before taking the quarterback role last year for the high-powered offense. This spring, he participated in limited football workouts with the Cavaliers, partly because of his AAU basketball pursuits.
Grimm said Devin Witherspoon and Isaiah Long, both rising sophomores, are potential starting quarterbacks for the Cavaliers.
“We’ve got some answers,” Grimm said.