Robert Askew sat at the table with balloons near and a teammate on each side of him.
But behind him stood, most importantly, his father, Francis, who never got this moment.
Askew, who graduated from Josey this year, had recently signed with Morehouse College to play basketball. One generation earlier, Askew’s father had to turn down a scholarship from Alabama State because he joined the military to support his family.
On Monday, Askew got to celebrate his reward with his father, teammates and supporters.
“I had to help my family; I didn’t have the family support,” Askew’s father said. “But he had the opportunity I didn’t have. I want to wish him the best.”
Eagles teammates Deion Craig and Cadeldrick White also announced their collegiate decisions, with Craig about to be a preferred walk-on with East Georgia College and White signing with Middle Georgia Technical College.
This past season, the trio helped the Eagles boys basketball team go 19-10 with a Region 3-AAA tournament championship won on Josey’s home floor.
“For me, having not won a championship ever, it was a big accomplishment,” Craig said. “It means everything. I feel like it was a dream fulfilled.”
While Askew and Craig just want to show coaches they’re capable of earning playing time, White expects to get a significant amount of minutes at the two-guard spot from the start.
Though White said he wants to improve his ball-handling, his time playing in Augusta has made him confident he can succeed.
“It helps me mentally,” White said. “I know [I can compete].”
Josey brought in rising ninth graders to watch the ceremony, with Eagles coach Jabari Levi believing the sight encourages the younger players to work in the classroom and on the court.
In some cases, the gift will be a future in college with a basketball in hand.
“You can’t ask for a better situation,” Levi said.