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Ladd signs with Crown College

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By Goose Lindsay

 

Mount Pisgah Christian Academy’s Mark Ladd is getting the chance to live out his dream as the Patriot senior signed scholarship papers on Good Friday to play for The Crown College of the Bible in Powell.

“I’m really happy,” Ladd said after signing with the Royal Crusaders. “It’s been my dream to play college basketball and now I get to do that.

“They’ve (Crown) really got a great atmosphere. Everyone is excited about the school. It’s like a big family.”

“I’m very happy for Mark,” Patriots head coach Travis Walls added. “Mark’s worked extremely hard for this and now that hard work is paying off. This is a great opportunity for him.”

In high school, Ladd was a match-up problem for opponents. He had the size to post-up smaller players, but he also had the outside touch of a guard. The result was averaging 20.4 points per game this season in leading the Patriots to the Tennessee Athletic Associations of Christian Schools Class A State Championship.

“He can score,” Walls said. “His size and athleticism make him tough to guard. He shoots it well and he can create his own shot.”

“Mark’s a versatile player,” Crown College head coach Dwayne Hickman added. “He can shoot as well as drive it to the basket. He’s been well coached.

“We also like his character and how he’s been brought up. He’s the type student-athlete we’re looking for at Crown College.”

Playing for one of the smallest schools in the state meant Ladd’s scoring was needed at Mount Pisgah, but that won’t be the case in college as he will be surrounded by talented players every day. Ladd, however, is looking forward to a chance to not have to score 20 every time on the court.

“It’s going to take a lot of pressure off me,” he said. “I’ll be going up against bigger and better players that have been there a while. I’m going to learn from that. I know I’m going to have to get stronger and faster.”

“He’s going from being the big fish in a small pond to being a small fish in a big pond so there is going to be an adjustment,” Walls added. “They’ll work with getting him stronger and a better defender, but that’s the case with all high school players entering college.”

“The college game is a faster game and that will take some getting used to for him,” Hickman added. “We’ll work on getting him stronger and quicker along with working on defense, but we’re looking forward to getting started and I think he’s ready to get started.”

One thing that will help Ladd make the adjustment to college life is that he already knows someone on the team. Current Crusader Ryan Flatt graduated from Mount Pisgah in 2013 and Ladd is looking forward to teaming up with him again.

“It’s going to help me a lot,” he said. “He’ll be someone that can help me. He’s someone I connect with.”