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Double the pride for Douglas family

By Zack Huffman

zhuffman@news-daily.com

Harry Douglas III is on the verge of being in a rare position as a parent of two very athletic sons.

It is not enough for fate to have allowed Douglas to be able to watch his son, Harry Douglas IV, play football for the Atlanta Falcons. It seems Douglas is on the verge of being able to see his other son, Toney Douglas begin his own athletic career when he gets picked in next week's NBA draft.

Although there are no guarantees in the NBA draft, by most estimates, the younger Douglas, a former point guard and 2008 All-ACC first team honoree, is likely to be chosen either late in the first round or early in the second.

Both of Douglas's sons first drew attention as athletic standouts at Jonesboro High School.

"Every time they went out to the field to play, you can bet they would give everything they had," he said. "They never liked to lose."

After enjoying a ground-breaking high school basketball career, where he set the Clayton County record for career points with 2,404, Toney Douglas went to Auburn University on a basketball scholarship. He spent one season at Auburn before transferring to Florida State University from which he recently graduated.

He is now anxiously waiting for his name to be called in the NBA draft, which begins next Thursday.

"We're very excited, but we want the process to hurry up," said Douglas. "Toney says to me every night, that it seems like it's been the longest week of his life."

The younger Harry Douglas went on to earn a scholarship to play football at the University of Louisville. He would go on to graduate and announce his eligibility for the 2008 NFL draft. The Atlanta Falcons picked him up in the third round, and Douglas went on to have a successful rookie season.

"People were telling him he was too small, but all he did was break high school and college records," said the elder Douglas. "That little boy that I raised up and seen over the year. To see him up there against all odds. When he scored his first touchdown as a Falcon, I was the happiness dad that you would ever want to see."

Now on the verge of seeing his second son strike his own path into the world of professional sports, Douglas is about as ecstatic as a proud father can get.

"It's been amazing," said Douglas. "Just the other night, my wife and I were looking at old film from high school. Here they are now playing at the highest level."

For Douglas, his greatest source of pride comes not from the professional athletes his sons are developing into, but rather the successful individuals they have become.

While both football and basketball often provided added incentives for players who wish to leave college early to begin their careers, Douglas is quick to explain how proud he is that both of his sons stayed in school, earning bachelor's degrees.

The younger Harry Douglas has a degree from Louisville in Political Science and hopes to one day return to school to pursue a law degree, while Toney Douglas graduated from Florida State with a degree in Business Administration.

"Both of them are winners," said Douglas. "They're winners because they went to college and they did it the right way. It's going to help them the rest of their lives. That's what I'm most proud of. They walked across that stage with a cap and gown on."

No matter how successful the Douglas brothers become, their father is certain they will continue to make him proud.

"It doesn't matter about money or status. They've matured while remaining the same," said Douglas. "A lot of these guys let their egos get in the way. It's the opposite with my kids. It just makes me happy to know that they know how to respect people."