(Photo courtesy of King University Facebook)
A former Hampton High School standout was part of history Thursday night.
King University men’s basketball coach George Pitts recorded win No. 1,000 during the Tornadoes 88-49 win against UVa-Wise on the road to extend their record to 7-2 on the year.
Nathanael Hughes, a junior with the Tornado, saw 10 minutes on the court and recorded six points, shooting 2-of-3 from the three-point stripe.
“The atmosphere for coach’s 1000th win was unreal,” the junior guard said after the win. “We knew what was on the table tonight and it was a huge region win. We ended up playing hard and together, which led to a huge King victory. Classic coach Pitts fashion – the emotion after the game was amazing. It’s great to get coach Pitts to smile!”
Hughes was named to the Conference Carolinas all-academic team during the 2013-2014 season.
The former Bulldog saw his share of accolades in Bristol, but Thursday night will be one to remember, he said.
“God has blessed me with an amazing opportunity,” he added. “To play at King for an absolute legend as a coach… to be part of his 1,000th career win is surreal.”
It’s a list of accomplishments that saw the HHS star make it to the state tournament during his high school career.
But from the games, to the teammates, it is hard to rank one over another, he said.
“It is hard to rank these moments in basketball,” Hughes explained. “I’ve had so many great memories. This; however, is the biggest personal accomplishment that I have been part of, 1000 wins is incredible.”
It hasn’t been a lackluster season for the Tornado, either.
With win No. 7 under their belts, King sits atop the Conference Carolinas with a perfect 3-0 record.
Along with the high-level of play, a bevy of northeast Tennessee standouts join Hughes: Logan Lyle (Unicoi County), Hunter LeVeau (Johnson City), C.J. Good (Science Hill) and Jonathan King (Sullivan East).
“This year has been a year of true togetherness and a family setting,” Hughes said. “We have great comradery and every one of us can play. This is by far the best year at King because we so unselfish. I hope we can continue to play coach Pitts’ type basketball with high pressure and running the ball down the opponents throat.”
Hughes showed that hoop dreams can come true and has words for the locals coming through the ranks at the high school-level.
“Savor high school,” Hughes said. “All those looking to pursue college athletics, don’t rush your life away because college goes by even faster. Work hard and when you commit – follow through, even when the going gets tough.”