Former Atmore resident on ESPN

Published 8:40 pm Monday, January 16, 2006

By By Matthew Nascone
Tomorrow a man who lived in Atmore for six years and attended Escambia County High School is going to be on cable television playing the game he loves.
This man is Antonio Webb, senior guard for the Bethune-Cookman College Wildcats. Webb and his Bethune-Cookman teammates from Daytona Beach, Fla. will be featured on ESPN 2 at 11 a.m. in their annual rivalry game against the North Carolina A&T State University Aggies. This game is being broadcasted in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.
"I always talked with my family about being on television and now I am proud to say that after Monday I can say I did," Webb said.
Before leaving Atmore to play basketball in Virginia, Webb was a freshman at ECHS and he was a player under Escambia County Middle School's boy's basketball coach, Robert Smith.
"If it wasn't for coach Smith I don't think I would be where I am now," Webb said. "He taught me all about the game of basketball and how to play the game right."
Webb might be at a Division I college playing basketball, but he said he will never forget where he came from.
"Whenever I step out on that court I always think of Atmore and how much it gave to me," he said. "I love representing Atmore every time I play this game. I will never forget all my friends in Atmore and how much they mean to me."
Webb said he knows how friendship can be the greatest thing in the world in high school.
"Two guys who especially helped me were Terrance and Terrell McNeill," he said. "They took me under their wing and showed me how to play the game."
Webb lived in Atmore from 1993-99 and he said he left to go play basketball.
"I don't want anyone to think I left Atmore because I didn't like it there," Webb said. "I left because I knew that AAU basketball was better up north."
From Atmore, Webb moved to Fairfax, Va. Webb attended Paul VI Catholic High School and was named a Five-Star All-American. He went to Laureen B. Community College and was named to the All-Eastern Conference team in both years he attended Wallace CC.
"It was a humbling experience to go to Wallace because I had dreams of going straight to a NCAA Division I school and I didn't," Webb said. "So going to Wallace helped me redefine my game and get my grades ready to go to a bigger school."
That transition period helped Webb on the court and in the classroom. He led the Wildcats in scoring in his first year with Bethune-Cookman with 447 points and was named to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference All-Conference Second Team in 2004-05.
In 2005-06 he is leading the 'Cats with a 17.6 points per game average and has recorded 29 steals in 15 games.
He will graduate in December with a degree in psychology and has held a 3.0 GPA while at Bethune-Cookman. He wants to be a sports psychologist if a career in basketball does not happen.
Webb said without the help of certain people in his life, he would not be as successful as he is right now.
"I could not have done any of this without my aunt Arraleam Ells or my best friend in the world, Albert Williams," Webb said.
Ells lives in Virginia and helped Webb when he moved to Virginia for his sophomore year of high school and Williams is a 2002 graduate of ECHS who Webb said kept him on the straight and narrow while he lived in Atmore.
Just a reminder, the game is tomorrow at 11 a.m. on ESPN 2. All of Atmore will be watching a former resident light up the television screen with his skills on the basketball court, knowing Antonio Webb said a prayer for Atmore before he stepped foot on the court.

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