CLINTON — When Dewan Lesesne came and worked out with The University of North Carolina at Pembroke on a recruiting visit, coach Ben Miller liked the energy the the former Clinton basketball standout exuded.
“He’s a high-energy guy and at the end of the workout he started cramping up based on how hard he was playing,” Miller said. “That caught our attention and we started to think he would be a great fit. He really impacts the game across the board.”
Those same pick-up games made Lesesne feel at home and the stat sheet stuffer for the Dark Horses the last two years signed his name on the dotted line to play at UNCP in a ceremony on Tuesday.
“It feels good to finally make the decision and I’m just excited,” Lesesne said. “As for why I chose Pembroke, whenever I started playing with them I just felt like I really fit in there.”
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound guard helped lead the Dark Horses to the NCHSAA 2A East regional finals during his senior season and also was named all-conference after averaging 14 points and seven rebounds a game. Lesesne was Clinton’s team MVP and has been selected to play in the North Carolina Coaches Association East-West All-Star game.
Lesesne will add guard depth to a UNCP team already heavy with backcourt talent, and is currently in one of the best stretches win wise in program history with back-to-back Peach Belt Conference regular season and tournament championships. The Braves finished 27-6 this season and made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament for the second time in program history. Six of the top eight scorers on last year’s team return this fall.
“We just needed a kid that was a good kid that competed every possession,” UNCP assistant coach Drew Richards said. “We liked his base setup of being long, athletic and playing hard. And we think he’s a good defender. He’s shown himself that he can be a willing and able defender, and with some work and some strength he can be a high level defender at our level.”
Lesesne was a three-year player on the varsity level for the Dark Horses that won back-to-back Four County Conference championships.
“It’s been a pleasure to coach Dewan everyday,” said former Clinton head coach Randy Jordan. “I tell you he has a smile that’s infectious and just seeing it brightens up your day. On the court he’s been one of the hardest workers I’ve ever coached. He always did what he had to in order to make the team better just whatever we needed he was there.
“Pembroke is receiving and amazing player and an ever better human being. I know he’s going to thrive there on and off the court, I will really miss him.”
He enters his time at UNCP already with a plan for his academic career, before he even steps foot on the hardwood.
“I plan on majoring in athletic training and accounting, I don’t know what I plan to do with my degree yet but hopefully with accounting I can own my own business,” Lesesne said.
Lesesne is one of the five that players that will be on the UNCP roster next year that played in high school locally, continuing the trend that Miller has followed during his 10 years at UNCP.
“When you’ve got fans from back home that can drive 45 minutes or an hour to watch them play, it helps generate local and regional interest,” Miller said.
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym. Michael Hardison contributed to this report.