By Zack Huffman
In recent years, Forest Park has struggled to send athletes to college on sports scholarships.
Although the football program's streak was broken earlier in the school year, Brandon McCarden recently capped what has at least been a four-year drought for basketball scholarships at Forest Park, when he signed his letter of intent to Brewton-Parker College Monday afternoon.
"I'm real excited," said McCarden. "When I came to Forest Park, I said I would be the first one to get a scholarship from this school playing basketball. I don't know if I am the first, but I'm the first in a long time."
According to basketball coach Steve Cole, McCarden's scholarship is the first for the basketball program since he took over four years ago.
"I can't speak before that," he added.
In choosing to play for Brewton-Parker, McCarden is following in the footsteps of both his brother and his father.
McCarden's brother attended Brewton-Parker, but did not do so while playing for the school, while his father did play college ball, but did not graduate.
"I'm going to try to be the first one to graduate from college from my family," said McCarden.
McCarden plans to go to school so he can become a registered nurse.
He was compelled to pursue that career for both the obvious reason of wanting to help people and the fact that a high demand for registered nurses guarantees higher pay and job security.
"I got that idea from my friend Maurice Simpson. He told me registered nurses can make a lot of money. I looked into it and I saw that he was right," said McCarden. "You will never be out of a job as a registered nurse."
According to Cole, McCarden will leave a difficult hole to fill on the Panthers' roster. The Panthers will not only lose McCarden's leadership, they will also lose the 18 points and eight rebounds per game he averaged over the last season.
"Brandon is a real dedicated student. He did what he needed to do in the classroom," said Cole. "Any time you have a player make it to the next level, it makes the coach proud."