ROCKINGHAM — Tre Pettigrew is very shy and reserved. When he talks, it is barely above a whisper.
That’s OK, because Pettigrew allows his play on the basketball court to do all the talking for him.
Pettigrew became the first Richmond Senior basketball player in two seasons to sign a letter of intent when he inked with Guilford Technical Community College Friday morning. Pettigrew became the second Richmond athlete to sign with the school. Earlier this month, volleyball player Davina LeGrande announced she would attend GTCC.
Pettigrew and his father, Donald, had been working on finding the right fit in a program since Richmond’s season ended on March 2 in the second round of the state 4A playoffs. Their search stretched from Wyoming to Mississippi and back home to North Carolina.
“I just wanted to go to a school and play basketball,” Pettigrew said about the process. “It’s close to home.”
Pettigrew was also looking at Cape Fear and Brunswick community colleges in the state as well as Northwest Mississippi and Independence Community College in Kansas.
The elder Pettigrew said he and his son liked what the coaching staff at GTCC was doing despite posting a 10-19 record last season.
“We watched Louisburg and Guilford Tech play and we liked the way they play,” Donald Pettigrew said. “They play at a fast pace. I think he can help the team next year. And it’s closer to home, especially Mississippi. Cape Fear was established, we talked about him making a name for himself, helping the team next year and showcasing his talents. I think that will be good for him.”
As a senior, Pettigrew averaged 14.5 points, seven rebounds and five assists a game. He believes the numbers will go up as he moves up to the next level. Pettigrew added he will play either shooting guard or small forward for the Titans.
“In college, they play man-to-man more, so I will be able to do more driving in and scoring,” Pettigrew said. “He (GTCC coach Kirk Chandler) expects me to work hard and help his team win more games. I feel like I can help the team to win more games.”
It won’t be easy for the Titans as they play in one of the toughest conferences on the junior college level that featured two teams — Louisburg and Richard Bland — in the final top 10 poll. Richard Bland, out of Petersburg, Virginia, captured the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II national championship last season, defeating John Wood 64-53.
Pettigrew said he was looking forward to the challenge of squaring off with some of the best players on the NJCAA level every night. His father added it was another reason why they choose GTCC.
“I think it will be good for him,” Donald Pettigrew said. “It will be good competition.”
Reach managing editor Shawn Stinson at 910-817-2671 and follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.