Matt Elmore will take a break from being a collegiate basketball player to play one more high school game.
The recent Dixon High graduate will play in the N.C. Coaches Association East-West all-star game Monday at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro.
Elmore is already enrolled at North Carolina-Wilmington, where he will play for the NCAA Division I Seahawks, who this past season made the NCAA tournament. He said he’s looking forward to participating in the East-West contest, which features the 10 best seniors from the East against the best from the West.
“They (UNCW coaches) gave me the green light to play in it,” Elmore said. “My teammate, C.J. Bryce, played in it last year and they said since they let him play I should be able to play in it.”
The 18-year-old Elmore said he’s honored to be an all-star, especially because his uncle Bobby Schaffer played in the East-West football game after he graduated from White Oak in 1992.
“I’m looking for to it. I’m following in his footsteps,” Elmore said. “I think it’s pretty cool. He’s always motivated me and he, my dad and everyone else in my family have always told me to follow my dreams. He knows how hard I’ve worked so it’s pretty cool I get a chance to show how much I’ve worked to get here.”
The 6-foot-9, 228-pound Elmore was one of the area’s best players in recent seasons. As a senior, he averaged 21.8 points and 15.4 rebounds per game to lead Dixon to a 15-12 overall record and a spot in the NCHSAA 2-A playoffs.
Elmore shared player of the year honors in the East Central 2-A Conference and was also a first-team player on The Daily News all-area team.
While he wants to win the all-star game, Elmore also said he wants to enjoy the experience.
“I’m looking to have fun,” he said. “If I score a lot of points or get a lot of rebounds, that’s fine. I think, especially down low, I’ll be a lot more physical because that’s what I’ve had to be here at UNCW. I’ve had to play against grown men. I’ve also worked on my ball handling and on my perimeter skills. I feel I’m ready and I’m really excited to play in this game.”
Elmore has been enrolled in college for four weeks. He said making the jump from high school to college has been an adjustment but that he’s handled it rather well.
“Honestly, it’s pretty stressful because the classes are harder and making the jump from high school practice to college practice, it’s crazy,” Elmore said. “We run a lot of suicides, we do a lot of conditioning and physical contact work and a lot of individual work. I feel that I’ve prepared myself well.”
Jacksonville coach Doug Erny will serve as an assistant coach under Jack Britt’s Ike Walker on the East team.