LOGAN — David Early has apparently played his last game as a Logan Wildcat.
Early is foregoing his senior season at Logan High School and is joining the ranks of Beckley Prep. He will play for the Swarm during the upcoming 2019-20 season.
He announced the move on his Twitter page on Wednesday, and Beckley Prep coach Cortez Brown confirmed Early’s move in an interview with The Logan Banner on Thursday.
A tweet on the Beckley Prep Twitter page said, “We would like to welcome 2020 6’5 G David Early of Logan, WV to the Beckley Prep family. David currently holds 6 D1 offers, with a bright future! #Swarm,” showing Early shooting while wearing a Beckley Prep uniform with a tag “major alert” at the top of the page.
“He’s coming here this coming school year,” Brown said. “He won’t be at Logan. He will be coming here for his senior year. I think we have the resources to really help him, help him evolve and grow into the player that he really wants to be.”
Early averaged 26.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.5 steals last season and scored more than 30 points in eight games. The 6-foot-4 guard was a Class AA All-State first-team pick last year and was also on the All-Cardinal Conference first team. He led the league in scoring last season and was second in the conference in scoring two years ago.
Logan coach Zach Green said Early’s departure came as a bit of a surprise but the Wildcats will move forward.
“[Wednesday] night we found out David Early is transferring to Beckley Prep as it was announced via Twitter,” Green said. “Unfortunately we had no prior knowledge that this was going to happen and later in the night received a text message from David confirming he was planning to transfer.
“We wish David nothing but the best and appreciate what he has brought to this program during his three years at Logan. With that being said, we are really excited for our future with a talented group of young players. We believe this will present opportunities and experience that will pay huge dividends for us in the years to come. As always, Logan basketball will continue to move forward with the goal of raising our eighth state championship banner.”
Early led Logan to a 20-5 season and a 12-2 mark in the Cardinal Conference last year but the Wildcats were upset 61-55 at Poca in one of the two Class AA Region 4 co-championship games.
Brown said Early has all the tools to be a Division I player. Last season, Early showed more range on his 3-point shooting, stepping out to NBA distance and beyond, often hitting from 25 to 28 feet.
“He’s a great shooter and has a great skills set,” Brown said. “I think the next level for him is to get a little more intense with his game, especially on the defensive side of things. He definitely has a knack for scoring and we definitely look forward for him giving us everything that he has to offer.”
Early already had Division I offers from West Virginia, Marshall, Akron, Duquesne, Ohio and Radford, the Radford offer coming just recently. Other schools such as Kent State, Towson and Pitt also reportedly have shown interest in Early.
Early would join other players at Beckley Prep, including Jay Moore, a recent graduate of Greater Beckley Christian, Cameron Stitt of North Carolina and California’s Robert McCrae. Moore reportedly has offers from North Carolina A&T, Morgan State and West Virginia Wesleyan, while Stitt has Division I offers from Oklahoma State, East Carolina, Hampton and UNC Greensboro. McCrae reportedly has offers from Cal Poly, Washington State and UC Santa Barbara.
Early’s move to Beckley Prep was a big blow to the Wildcats. Logan had already lost three starters from last year’s team, and Early’s departure will make four. Peter Noe, a 6-foot-10 center, and 6-1 forward Chucky Felder both graduated.
Brothers Drew Hatfield (5-11 senior) and Devin Hatfield (6-0 sophomore), who had transferred to Logan after the football season from Mingo Central, returned home to MCHS. Both played big roles in the Wildcats’ success last season. Drew Hatfield (14.5 points, 10.5 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 3.6 steals per game) was a starter and one of the team’s top scorers. Devin Hatfield, a reserve, saw his role grow as the season progressed.
Logan returns Mitchell Hainer, Noah Cook, Peyton Adams, Tanner Lambert and Sidney Chapman from last year’s team but will field a young squad for the upcoming season with an influx of freshman and sophomore players expected to help take up the slack.