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Basketball tournament fuels college dreams for players, others

Some players at the HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational basketball tournament will go to college on athletic scholarships. But the tournament also is helping 10 others reach their college dreams.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Some of the biggest talent in high school basketball competes in the 42nd HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational tournament in Raleigh this week, and several of the players will be playing big-time college basketball in the next few years.

Ten others who were recognized Thursday night are making their college dreams a reality in another way. They were awarded $5,000 scholarships by the Triangle Educational Advancement Foundation – awards funded by tournament ticket sales.

Dakarai Shipp, one of the scholarship recipients, was homeless for several months during his senior year at Millbrook High School in Raleigh.

"I lived in my truck at a campsite at Umstead State Park," Shipp said, adding that his mother also lived in the truck.

But he kept his head and his grades up and is now attending the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He made the dean's list during his first semester and wants to go into sports medicine.

"I can believe I can do better, and I want to do better," Shipp said. "I have a lot of supporters, people who think I can do great."

Jake Coats, who like Shipp ran track in high school, also received a TEAF scholarship. A graduate of Wake Forest-Rolesville High School, he now attends UNC-Charlotte and wants to follow his father's footsteps and become a firefighter.

"The more I can take care of, the less my parents have to take care of," Coats said.

The other eight scholarship recipients are as follows:

  • Vanessa Canuto, Jordan High School, UNC-Chapel Hill
  • L.J. Clark, Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School, UNC-Chapel Hill
  • Ebony Cooke, Bunn High School, UNC-Chapel Hill
  • Caroline Drysdale, Panther Creek High School, UNC-Chapel Hill
  • Jeremiah Humphrey, Northern Durham High School, Appalachian State University
  • Justin Jeffress, South Johnston High School, Campbell University
  • Logan McCullen, Smithfield-Selma High School, UNC-Wilmington
  • Millie Perez, Holly Springs High School, Wake Forest University

In nearly 20 years, TEAF has awarded more than $1 million in scholarships.

The HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational tournament runs through Saturday at Broughton High School and Cary Academy.


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