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Southmoreland's Stone headed to prep school

Bill Beckner Jr.
| Tuesday, April 11, 2017, 4:27 p.m.
Southmoreland's Brandon Stone (23) misses on a 3-point shot to tie the game with seconds remaining against Shady Side Academy in a WPIAL Class 3A game on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, at Gateway High School. Shady Side Academy won 40-37.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Southmoreland's Brandon Stone (23) misses on a 3-point shot to tie the game with seconds remaining against Shady Side Academy in a WPIAL Class 3A game on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, at Gateway High School. Shady Side Academy won 40-37.
Southmoreland's Brandon Stone (23) brings the ball forecourt following a steal during the second quarter against Shady Side Academy on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, at Gateway High School. Shady Side Academy leads 23-22 at halftime.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Southmoreland's Brandon Stone (23) brings the ball forecourt following a steal during the second quarter against Shady Side Academy on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, at Gateway High School. Shady Side Academy leads 23-22 at halftime.
Avonworth's Matthew Crilley (20) has his shot deflected by Southmoreland's Brandon Stone (23) during the third quarter on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, in Peters Township. Southmoreland won 64-55 in overtime.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Avonworth's Matthew Crilley (20) has his shot deflected by Southmoreland's Brandon Stone (23) during the third quarter on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, in Peters Township. Southmoreland won 64-55 in overtime.
Southmoreland's Brandon Stone (23) drives for a shot ovwer Avonworth's Matthew Crilley (20) during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, in Peters Township. Southmoreland won 64-55 in overtime.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Southmoreland's Brandon Stone (23) drives for a shot ovwer Avonworth's Matthew Crilley (20) during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, in Peters Township. Southmoreland won 64-55 in overtime.
Brandon Stone scores to extend Southmoreland's lead over Avonworth during overtime on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, in Peters Township. Southmoreland won 64-55 in overtime.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Brandon Stone scores to extend Southmoreland's lead over Avonworth during overtime on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, in Peters Township. Southmoreland won 64-55 in overtime.
Southmoreland's Brandon Stone dunks over Washington on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017 at Southmoreland High School. Washington won 82-63.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Southmoreland's Brandon Stone dunks over Washington on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017 at Southmoreland High School. Washington won 82-63.

It looks like Brandon Stone has played his last game in a Southmoreland uniform.

The 6-foot-11 basketball standout hinted for months he was considering the prep-school route to college basketball. And now he is following through with that scenario.

Stone announced Tuesday he is transferring to Christ School in Arden, N.C.

A junior, Stone will "reclassify," meaning he will attend the prep school for two years and graduate in 2019. The extra time, he hopes, will help him get stronger and allow him to fine-tune his skills to reach his end game: landing a scholarship from a major college program.

The swing-forward already has offers from Duquesne, Robert Morris, Mount St. Mary's, Appalachian State, Youngstown State and Stony Brook. The Duquesne offer was from former coach Jim Ferry.

Several other schools have shown increased interest and Stone has made numerous unofficial visits. He plays AAU for Bridge City Basketball and previously said he might wait until after the NCAA's "live" period (April 21-23) — when college coaches can have contact with recruits through visits, letters, emails, texts and calls, and can evaluate the players in person — to make his decision.

But he said his choice of prep school could actually attract more schools.

"I just felt like it was the best opportunity for me to develop my game more and become a stronger student, as well," Stone said.

Christ School is a perennially strong program that has often sends graduates to Division I programs, most notably the Plumlee brothers, Mason and Miles, who both played at Duke and are now in the NBA.

Stone knows it will be tough leaving friends at Southmoreland.

"It will," Stone said. "But this is what is best for me."

Stone averaged a double-double this season and, along with several seniors, helped lead the Scotties to the WPIAL quarterfinals for the first time since 1987. He averaged 25.3 points, 11.4 rebounds and 2.5 blocks and raised his career point total to 1,199.

"We wish him all the best in his pursuit to better himself as a player and a person," Southmoreland coach Frank Muccino said. "And we'll be rooting for him to find great success there."

Stone expects to play the "stretch four" position, or, power forward, at the next level. Slender but skilled, he grew 10 inches between seventh and 11th grade. Coaches marvel at Stone's ability to shoot from the perimeter and handle the ball at his size.

"Everyone talks about how the game has changed, but the game has changed because players have changed," said Nate Perry, director of Bridge City Basketball. "Stone is the perfect example. For Brandon, prep school makes sense ... He already is a college prospect, so now he is focused on becoming a college player."

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BillBeckner.

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