Mission accomplished: Highlanders’ Gregg meets goals for senior season

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

As the lone returning starter from a basketball team that won 30 games a year ago, Eureka Springs senior J.M. Gregg knew it would be difficult for the Highlanders to have another successful season.

Going into the offseason, Gregg was determined to do everything in his power to make the Highlanders the best they could be, though.

“Last summer, I had a list of where I wanted to be after my senior year,” Gregg said. “I wanted to be in the all-star game. I wanted to be all-state. And I wanted to get my team to regionals and districts.”

Gregg was named to the all-state basketball team on Monday and will be playing in the Northwest Arkansas High School Basketball Showcase this Saturday in Pea Ridge.

Gregg averaged 18.8 points and 7.0 rebounds a game this season as Eureka Springs won 22 games to win the conference championship, clinching another trip to the regional tournament. His coach, Brian Rambo, is very proud of what Gregg has accomplished at Eureka Springs.

“J.M. has been a tremendous leader for our program,” Rambo said. “He has been a tremendous player. That’s a good thing about tradition. Those guys leave legacies for other kids to shoot for and try to accomplish. We have a sign in our locker room and it asks ‘Who is next?’ Because we want all of our guys to try and work hard to get to where J.M. is right now.”

Gregg spent a number of hours working out over the summer, including going to camps at College of the Ozarks and Evangel University.

“I went to camps this summer and every morning I would go outside and work out,” Gregg said. “At the camps I learned that the harder you work at something, the better you will be.”

The Highlanders started the season 9-7. Gregg knew as the senior leader he had to stay positive, which at times was difficult to do.

“After each practice we would go watch film and see what we did wrong,” Gregg said. “Every game. We just kept working hard every practice.”

During those film sessions, Gregg began noticing things he could improve on, which ultimately helped the Highlanders finish 13-3 as the season came to a close.

“I would see myself dribbling into a trap during film class,” Gregg said. “I would be in a situation where I would be double-teamed and trying to do it all myself.”

Rambo hopes Saturday’s showcase game will help Gregg continue to get more attention from college coaches.

“It’s a situation where he gets to play up a level, or more, against college basketball players,” Rambo said. “They will be able to gauge his talents and measure him up.”

As this Saturday’s showcase comes to a close, Gregg will get to cross the fourth and final checkmark off the list for what he had hoped to do during his senior season. Doing all four things for himself, and his team, means a great deal.

“Hard work does pay off when you put in the work and it did for me and the team,” Gregg said. “I knew we were going to do it.”

Gregg is undecided on where he is going to college, but he plans to major in sports marketing.

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