By Chris Sokoloski
Joey Alba recently signed a scholarship to play basketball at Laramie Community College in Laramie, Wyo.
"I visited and really liked the area," Alba said. "It fit the situation I needed to go to and it was a pretty easy choice when they offered the full ride."
Jeff Bombich, who coach Alba for five years in AAU, said Laramie is a "high level" junior college that feeds into Division I programs.
"Joey started out as an egotistical punk who was average on offense and horrible on defense," Bombich said. "He eventually bought into me and became an outstanding defender, leader and who I consider the best shooter in South Carolina."
Alba has been playing basketball his whole life.
"Ever since I could walk I picked up a basketball and loved it," Alba said.
"Joey is capable of shooting any type shot and his range is up to 23 feet as a deadly shooter," Bombich said. "His offensive skills are some of the best I have coached in 25 years."
Alba attended Waccamaw High School for three years before transferring to Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia for one year.
He returned home needing only one credit to graduate and finished his senior year as part of the home schooling through Georgetown Education Center.
"It was a weird feeling doing it all online and not having to worry about a schedule and not having to go to classes," Alba said.
During his two years at Laramie he will take general studies classes and hopes to continue on at a larger school where he can study architecture.
Alba would like to some day design green and sustainable buildings.
Bombich believes Alba's off-the-court legal issues are a thing of the past.
"You don't know how great of a feeling it is to have a player like Joey who was a young punk that didn't know much about basketball even though he thought he did, who got into a few incidents personally, turn his life around and commit to being a great basketball player," Bombich said.
Alba, along with fellow seniors Teondre Bromell, A.J. Grant and Unique Gardner, led his AAU team to a 28-4 record this summer.
Alba averaged 22 points, seven rebounds and four assists; Bromell averaged 20 points, 10 rebounds and four steals; Grant averaged 15 points, eight assists and four steals; and Gardner averaged 11 points, and four steals.
The seniors were joined by Taylor Deane, a junior, Adonis Williams and Stephon Funnye, both sophomores, and Tristan Teems, a freshman.
"This was the best cohesive team I have coached in my nine years in South Carolina," Bombich said. "All of the success and championships we won this year was earned by their teamwork and desire to win."
"If it wasn't for AAU I wouldn't have this scholarship," Alba said. "The exposure level is so much better than high school level."
Bromell signed a scholarship in May with Olney Central College in Illinois.
"Teondre would often cause the gym to erupt with one of his thunderous dunks but that was just a small part of his game," Bombich said. "He is the smoothest player I have ever coached."
Grant, a Waccamaw High graduate, missed some games and the team suffered, the coach said.
"A.J. was our game changer, in six months he went from a good player to a great player," Bombich said
Deane, Williams and Funnye greatly improved their games during the season.
Teems could develop into one of the best players in the state if he works hard enough, said Bombich, who also coached him at Lowcountry Prep School.
"This may have been the hardest working eight boys I have coached," Bombich said.
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