MHS' Windom, Ray sign college scholarships

By By Jeff Byrd / staff writer
Nov. 21, 2002
Two of the top athletes at Meridian High School signed NCAA Division I scholarships Wednesday at a press conference at the school.
Jason Windom, a 6-foot-4 senior wing for coach Ernie Watson's basketball Wildcats, signed with the University of Southern Mississippi.
Tennis player David Ray, the defending 5A State Boys Singles Champion, inked a deal with Birmingham Southern College.
Both athletes took advantage of the last day of the NCAA's early signing period in November. With the future in hand, both players can now look forward to their senior seasons.
On Saturday night, Windom hit a 16-foot buzzer shot to sink Quitman 66-65.
Now he'll get the chance to do it for James Green's program at USM next year.
The signing of Windom may take some observers around the state by surprise, but he caught the eye of recruiters at last year's State 5A Tournament and then followed it up with an outstanding summer. He gave arguably the state's top prospect in Starkville's Travis Outlaw a challenge for the top player award at Mississippi State's camp last July.
Windom was the Wildcats' most consistent scorer down the stretch to the 5A semifinals last year. He shot 60 percent (90-of-150) from the field while averaging 11 points per game.
He has worked on improving his range and now ranks as the Wildcats' best outside shooter.
The son of Phyllis and Dewayne Spears, Windom still needs some work on the American College Test in order to qualify.
Ray is one of the top junior tennis players in the South. As a 16-year-old, Ray reached a national ranking of No. 118, reportedly the first Meridian player to ever be that highly ranked. He was also ranked 19th in the South.
Last year was his first in playing in the tough 18-year-old bracket.
While the rise up in class was challenging, Ray says he has seen improvements in his game since winning the 5A singles title last April.
The highlight of the fall was reaching the Round of 32 at the National Clay Courts in doubles play. Ray will now prepare for the National Open's 18-and-under Tournament set for Pensacola, Fla.
As a high school player, Ray has been unbeatable in Mississippi. He logged a 19-0 match record as a Wildcat and will take an outstanding 87-9 record into the spring campaign.
What attracted Ray to Birmingham Southern was the hiring of former Mississippi State women's assistant coach Michael Metts.
Ray is the son of B.J. Ray of Meridian.

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