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Fortenberry signs with SLU

Picayune basketball standout Brandon Fortenberry chose to stay close to home to play college ball.

Fortenberry, who helped guide the Maroon Tide to the Class 4A state championship game this season, was recruited by about 20 collegiate teams but signed with Southeastern Louisiana University recently.

“I thought it was the best situation for me,” Fortenberry, who averaged 18 points, six assists and four steals per game his senior season and helped guide Picayune to a 33-5 mark, said. “A lot of people were telling me a lot of things, but in the end I had to decide what was best for me. This was it.”

Fortenberry also said that with SLU being in Hammond and just over an hour away from home was important to him for family reasons, so his parents Earl and Mary could see him play as much as possible. “The location of the school played a big role as well for me,” Fortenberry added.

The addition of Fortenberry to the Lions program was a big feather in the cap for SLU head coach Jim Yarborough.

“Brandon is easily one of the finest recruits to ever sign with Southeastern,” Yarborough said. “Our fans will be excited and amazed by the leadership and ability of this freshman next season. The future is very bright with Brandon directing our offense in the years to come.”

Fortenberry capped his senior season by earning Class 4A All State honors and by being selected for the prestigious Alabama/Mississippi All-Star Basketball Classic. He was named the player of the year in South Mississippi by The Sun-Herald, as well as winning the 3-point shooting contest at the Grand Slam All-Star activities in Tupelo.

His importance to the Maroon Tide over the past two years can’t be overlooked, according to Picayune head coach Daniel Kennedy.

“He is irreplaceable for us,” Kennedy added. “He is the epitome of a student-athlete. He is a great kid and good person and an excellent basketball player. He was a leader both on and off the court and he has earned the respect of everyone at this school. He will be missed.”

Fortenberry feels like Yarborough will play him at the point guard position, allowing him to utilize both his ball-handling skills as well as his shot creating style.

He thinks he may get a chance to play as a freshman.

“It was important for me to go to a place that I felt like I had a chance to play as a freshman,” Fortenberry concluded. “It’s always been a dream of mine to play college basketball, and now I have my chance.”

He is the second member of his family to sign a basketball scholarship out of Picayune Memorial High, as his older brother Earl inked with Eastern Wyoming.