WHITEVILLE — Whiteville guard Tyrell Kirk committed to play basketball at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke on Friday via Twitter.
The 6-foot-4 guard, told The Robesonian back in January that UNCP was a favorite in his recruiting process and made it official with the social media post. Kirk joins UNCP with fellow incoming guards Jamal Bryant and Cam Hamilton to add to the depth at guard for next year.
“The other schools just didn’t seem as interested in me,” Kirk said of what made UNCP stand out. “They mad me feel like family. The coaches would come and see me once a week and showed how much they appreciated me and wanted me. I decided to go with a good coaching staff that showed me much they appreciated me and made me feel safe.”
Kirk also had offers from Charleston Southern, Lander, South Carolina State, Maryland Eastern Shore and Mercer.
“They’ve been there with him a lot,” Whiteville coach Jerry Singletary said of the UNCP coaching staff. “They were here for so much and it made him feel better. Made it feel like a family, something our program has.”
Along with the three freshmen guards entering, The Braves also have four other guards on roster. Kirk said he sees this as an opportunity to prove himself with his work ethic.
“My thought process is that I have to go in and try and work harder than everybody else,” Kirk said. “I’ve got to try and find and make a spot for me.”
This season, Kirk was named the District 4 and Three Rivers Conference Player of the Year. He helped the Wolfpack claim a share of the Three Rivers Conference regular-season title with Fairmont and advance to the fourth round of the state playoffs. Kirk has been invited to play in the East West all-star basketball game in Greensboro in July.
As a senior, Kirk was a walking triple-double as he finished with 12 total this year and averaged 21.9 points, 8.8 assists, 9 assists and four blocks a game.
The brother of Shaun Kirk, a sophomore forward at N.C. State, Tyrell has seen what it takes to get to the college level. The younger Kirk also had the benefit of watching current UNCP guard Quamain Rose, an all-American player for the Braves, during his prep years at Whiteville.
“It inspired me because he would come back and work with me and tell me what it takes to get there,” Kirk said of Rose.
“I told (UNCP) Coach (Ben) Miller that Saturday we’ll have Quamain Rose graduate out there and then Tyrell commits, it’s like I’ll have one of my players going out and one coming in over there,” Singletary said. “This is great for his family that he’s close to home enough they can go see him and our team and I know I will be going to see him as well.”
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977. Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.