Signee Sledge, focused on a championship

By Chris Williams, Publisher

The will to win…Tavon Sledge has it.

Sledge, a 5-foot-8 member of Iowa State’s class of 2011 scored 46 points and carried his Half Hollow Hills West (New York) team to a 79-75 double-overtime victory in the Long Island Class AA finals last Sunday. Sledge went 16-for-33 from the field, while hitting a game tying 3-pointer at the end of regulation.

“I wanted to win the game for my team,” Sledge told “I knew that I had to do whatever it took to get the win.”

The real work starts this weekend. Sunday’s win was nice and Sledge really turned some heads with his fantastic individual performance, but the future Cyclone hasn’t achieved his goal yet. That goal is a New York State championship, a game that Half Hollow Hills West lost a season ago.

Sledge’s Colts will have their work cut out for them on Saturday, as a head-to-head semi-final matchup with Mount Vernon is on the horizon.

“I need to shut down their best player. That’s my job,” Sledge said.

That player is Jabarie Hinds, a 6-foot-0, 160-pound West Virginia signee. It will be a showdown in the backcourt for sure.

Half Hollow Hills West enters the game with an 18-5 record, while Mount Vernon is 14-3.

Sledge has averaged 25.3 points, 5.2 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 3.1 steals per game during his senior season.

Sledge’s thoughts on year one

A few close losses in 2010-11 didn’t damper Sledge’s enthusiasm to become a member of the Iowa State men’s basketball program.

“Their season actually showed me a lot,” Sledge said. “I understand what my position will be next year. I will keep things at a quick pace.”

“He (Fred Hoiberg) likes my explosiveness and my quickness. I just feel like I will fit perfectly within what they want to do.”