Nash Central graduate Cash adjusting well at the next level
By SAMUEL EVERS
Thursday, February 1, 2018
While a sizable crowd was watching N.C. Wesleyan pull away from visiting Averett College on Wednesday night, there was a small section of about 20 people behind the scorers’ table less so rooting for a team and more for a player.
In his first game back playing basketball in Rocky Mount since graduating high school last season, Averett freshman Montre’ Cash had his own cheering section of family and close friends.
“Wesleyan has a great atmosphere. It just felt great being here. Can’t wait to come back and play here all four years,” he said. “I had a lot of support here to watch me play, just friends and family. I had a lot of friends come. It was cool talking to them earlier.”
Cash graduated from Nash Central High School —- his mother, Teri, is the girls’ coach — last summer and didn’t put it together that he’d have a chance to again play in Rocky Mount until after he committed to Averett.
But with the date against the Bishops circled, it was a fruitful trip back to his hometown. And once the game started, it didn’t take long for him to make an impact. Entering the game, he had actually started 12 of Averett’s first 16 games, but recently took a new role off the bench.
He checked in with 16:39 remaining in the first half, and within 30 seconds had picked an NCWC players’ pocket and registered an assist on the other end.
A few minutes later, he had hit his first two shots -- both layups -- the latter giving his team a four-point lead. He finished with 13 points on 4 of 13 shooting with four assists and three steals in the 101-88 loss.
“He has a bright future ahead of him,” said Averett coach David Doino, who, as a former NCWC assistant, has Rocky Mount ties of his own. “He’s still learning things but he’s got a bright future.”
Cash said the transition from high school to college has been smooth, with senior guard James Contreras Jr. acting as a mentor. Of course, it’s also helped to have a fellow Rocky Mount native in Raymond Bullock III, a Northern Nash graduate, as his roommate.
Bullock III is also a freshman contributor for Averett -- and a lifelong friend of Cash -- though he couldn’t make the game on Wednesday because of a concussion suffered earlier in the week.
“He wanted to travel with us, but they wanted him to stay and get some rest so he’d be ready for Saturday,” Cash said. “He’s also a big piece of this team, we missed him tonight.”
For the season, Cash is averaging 7.6 points per game to go with 2.7 assists in just under 20 minutes per game. Bullock III, who has started eight games for the Cougars, is averaging 5.8 points per game and 4.2 rebounds per game.
“I’ve found my role here. With Averett taking me in, looking for me to score and knock down shots and find the open man, for them to trust me with the ball as a freshman,” Cash said, “it’s been great.”