Story and photo by Mark Carpenter –
Another local student/athlete will be continuing his athletic endeavors at the collegiate level as Manchester’s Kaulen Cox signed his letter of intent to become a member of the Rio Grande Redstorm basketball program. The official signing took place in a ceremony held in the round room at Manchester High School on Friday, May 12.
Cox was the leading scorer for the 2016-17 Greyhound varsity basketball squad, averaging 16.4 points per game and performing as one of the top three-point shooters in southeast Ohio.
“I visited a few other campuses and just didn’t like them that much, most of them were too small,” said Cox at the signing ceremony. “Rio just felt more like the right place for me. Honestly, I always thought I would play baseball in college, but I got some calls about basketball. I think my senior year made me realize that I might be able to play basketball at the next level.”
“I went to one of the recruiting days at Rio but couldn’t play because I was hurt. I watched them play and thought I could play with those guys. It will be good to play with Isaiah (Anderson) too.”
Anderson, from North Adams, also recently signed with the Redstorm basketball program.
Naturally, Manchester varsity boys coach Joey Darnell was happy to see one of his troops move on to the next level.
“I’m really proud of how far Kaulen has come as a player, how much he has grown,” said Darnell. “Going into his freshman year, he wasn’t really looked at much as either a scorer or a player and then he grew so much to the point where we depended on him so much last year, sometimes if he didn’t score, we didn’t score. Kaulen was one of the kids I put a lot of stock in when I started last year, I regret that I didn’t coach him his junior season, but it’s good when you can see that you have impacted somebody’s life.”
Representing the Redstorm at the ceremony was their Varsity Assistant/JV Coach Len Collins who talked about how the school became interested in Cox and what his role in the program could be.
“Kaulen came to a recruit day we have for unsigned seniors who still want to find a place to play,” said Collins. “He had an injury from baseball season and didn’t actually play that day, but I had seen him play last winter and he reached out to us and I have a soft spot for kids who want to work hard and do what they need to do and after talking to Coach Darnell and to Kaulen’s family, it was a shoo-in that I wanted him as part of the Rio program.”
“Kaulen will begin on our JV squad but everyone’s opportunity is equal to move up. I think Kaulen will work hard and have that shot at moving up quickly to the varsity level.”
While at Rio, Cox says he plans to center his studies around becoming an Accountant Manager.