VALLEY SPRINGS — Every basketball coach likes to have a big man that can step out on the wing and knock down a long jumper.
Valley Springs’ Isaac Ragland had that skill set. Now it has led him to Arkansas Tech University in Russellville to play next season.
Ragland, who is 6-foot-4, dominated the paint for the Tigers this past season while averaging nearly 20 points a contest. Even though he was an inside player for the Tigers, his size will make him a guard in college.
“I will play the shooting guard spot,” he said when asked what position that he would play at Tech. “It will be different for me, but I believe it won’t be a hard adjustment.”
Ragland feels that he will need to make some adjustments to his game to play at the NCAA Division II level.
“My jumping ability,” was the first area that he pointed to for improvement. “My agility as well.”
Arkansas Tech was an easy choice for Ragland.
“I love that it is close to home,” he said. “I have many friends that will be attending class there.”
Leaving Valley Springs will be a struggle for Ragland.
“I will miss my great teachers and my teammates,” he said.
While attending Arkansas Tech, Ragland will be pursuing a degree in education. His dream job would be to join the basketball coaching profession.
Basketball has been important to Ragland. It has been a great educational tool for the rising college freshman.
“I love competing at a high level with the best,” he said about the sport. “It gives me motivation to better my ability.
“Basketball taught me you get what you put out,” he continued. “It also taught me how to handle adversity.”
The sport has given Ragland a lot of drive. He spoke about a couple of memories that he made on the court.
“My top moments are dropping 50 points in a game,” he started, “and beating my home town, Marshall, my first season at Valley.”
The awards have followed Ragland. He has been named to the All-State Tournament team three times.He has been selected as All-State twice and All-Conference three times. He also received the Mr. Tiger award at Valley Springs.
Ragland is the son of Ricky and Melissa Ragland and Amie and Jerry Dale Brown. He is the big brother to Jesse Ragland and Landon Brown.
Achieving this opportunity takes a large support group and the new Wonder Boy knows that.
“I would like to thank God first,” he said. “I want to thank my parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and the James family.
“I have several coaches to thank,” he continued. “Coach (Blake) Hanney; Coach (Marty) Barness; Neil Elliot; Coach (Broc) Harness; and Jacob Loggins.
Ragland had one last entity to mention.
“I appreciate everything Valley Springs has done for me,” he said. “I am a Tiger forever.”