MOUNT AIRY - After a long journey through high school hoops, Chase Mounce has found a home in the collegiate ranks.
The 6-foot-9-inch center signed his official letter of intent to play basketball at Tusculum College in Greenville, Tenn., last Friday at a signing ceremony at Meadow View Middle School in Mt. Airy.
“I’m glad to get the college recruiting process over with and be able to know where I’m going,” Mounce explained. “I just signed in late-May, where normally most people sign in early-April, so it was a long process.”
Mounce began his basketball career at Elkin, where he played through two injury-plagued seasons for the Buckin’ Elks. But wanting more exposure from college coaches and to play against better competition, the big man decided to transfer to Forsyth Country Day School in Lewisville.
Competing in the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association, the Furies finished 18-14 on the year and 5-3 in 3A Piedmont Conference standings.
Mounce helped lead Forsyth Country Day into the second round of the state playoffs in his only season there, before losing to Charlotte Christian 91-67.
Following the year, Mounce once again transferred schools. The center headed to Fork Union Military Academy in Fork Union, Va., one of the “premier college preparatory boarding military schools in the country.”
Suiting up for the Blue Devils’ postgraduate squad, Mounce helped Fork Union to a 20-win season where they played the junior varsity teams from North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Army, Navy and Princeton, along with nationally-ranked Hargrave Military Academy.
The big man earned a Virginia Postgraduate All-Star Game nomination in his lone season with the Blue Devils. Mounce added outstanding performer nods from the 2010 Bob Gibbons Clinic, the 2010 Five Star Camp and the 2011 Phenom 150 Camp, even earning praise from Rick Lewis from Sports Carolina Monthly.
In his Phenom Hoop Report, Lewis evaluated Mounce’s game, saying “the biggest attribute for Mounce is his size. He is a legit 6’9 and has good fundamentals and high basketball IQ. He has a soft touch for a power forward that is able to step out and consistently knock down the open 10-foot jumper. In addition, he is an excellent free throw shooter.
“Mounce has shown the willingness to listen and learn and improve. Right now, it is a matter of improving his foot quickness and stamina. If he dedicates himself to the weight room and increase his quickness and stamina, he could be a solid D1 prospect,” he added.
The Elkin native caught the eye of several schools, including Tusculum, a Division II program, looking for a “big post player.”
“We did a lot of work with several of the military schools in Virginia,” Pioneers’ head coach Michael Jones explained. “We were looking for a big post player and were fortunate enough to find Chase available. We were able to get him on campus and make an offer to him before other schools were able to.”
After mulling over offers from other schools, Mounce picked the Pioneers.
“I had interests from Winthrop, Army, Presbyterian and Concord, but Tusculum had the best offer,” he said. “I really liked the head coach and the facilities there.
“They also have a one-subject plan for school, where you take one class for 18 days then take the exam, so I liked the way they did that,” he added.
Despite playing for three different high schools, Mounce said the experiences prepared him for life, especially playing at a military school like Fork Union.
“It was tough; it was a military school. You had to get up at 5:50 and get your room inspected and all that,” he explained. “But it was a good learning experience and prepared me for life. Basketball is more important there than most schools.”
With the recruiting process officially over, Mounce will be able to work with Jones and the Pioneer coaching staff and be able fully focus on basketball, which excites the second-year coach.
“We are really happy and excited to have him. We think his best basketball is ahead of him,” Jones said. “Chase’s skill level is high enough where he can make an impact right away, or if it is in his best interest, we’ll sit him for a year.
“We will have a young team and there will be some opportunities for new players to play. Chase is going to be in the mix,” he continued. “We are very exciting about his Tusculum career.”
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or email@example.com.