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Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / East Hamilton's Darwin Randolph (0) signals to his team during their game against Cleveland at Cleveland High School's Raider Arena on Friday, Jan. 10, 2020 in Cleveland, Tenn.

Darwin Randolph knew early on the sacrifices he had to make in order to follow his dream of one day becoming an NBA basketball player.

He stood out in all phases of the game at East Hamilton over the past four years, which required great dedication from Randolph who plays much bigger than his 6-foot, 175-pound stature.

Thanks to his hard work the Hurricane star earned a Division I college scholarship to play for Campbell University which is located in Buies Creek, North Carolina. The Fighting Camels are a member of the Big South conference.

"I have been working for this day for a long time," Randolph said. "I am hungry for success. Basketball has just about consumed my life the last several years.

"Early on in high school I changed my diet and schedule just so when I was on the court I would be the best version of myself for East Hamilton. I have a will to win and have been able to adapt to any role or situation that comes my way, which I think will help me in college as well."

Nearly identical in stature to Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul — who is playing for his first championship in the NBA Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks currently — Randolph brings poise, leadership and flash when on the court.

The four-year varsity starter was a polarizing talent for the Hurricanes, who he led to 75 career wins while averaging 18 points, seven assists, six rebounds and two steals during his senior season. Randolph's talent helped Andy Webb's program earn a top three state ranking in the Class AAA state poll this past season, in which they finished with a 19-5 record.

Randolph is very dangerous with the ball in his hands. He can break down a defense with his vision and precision passing, which included elite no-look and lead bounce passes for assists to his teammates. He also has a quick burst to get ahead of a defense on turnovers while his outside shooting is a strength along with his ability to drive to the basket.

"My mom is my biggest motivation," said Randolph, whose career-high numbers included 38 points and 11 assists (twice). "She has put in so much work, time and effort to help me get to where I am at. I just want to make her proud. She drives me to be the best I can be in all things."

Former East Hamilton teammate and current UTC player Jamaal Walker is also an inspiration to Randolph who wants to also make noise at the Division I level.

While Randolph did not have great attention come his way on the recruiting trail, the motivated guard is ready to prove his worth at the next level and provide Campbell with a major steal for the coming seasons. The Fighting Camels won the Big South regular season championship in 2019 and have one career NCAA tournament appearance back in 1992.

"Jamaal is a big motivation for me along with NBA stars Damian Lillard and Jimmy Butler," Randolph added. "They were two guys with low ratings going into college, but they outworked everyone to get where they are now. I am going to play every game with passion and hopefully play in the NBA too one day."

Contact Patrick MacCoon at pmaccoon@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @PMacCoon.

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