GHS, Hawthorne basketball stars transfer to The Villages


Ed Porter of Hawthorne, left, and Isaiah Jackson of Gainesville enrolled at The Villages Charter School in Sumter County.

File photo
Published: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 at 7:07 p.m.

Six months ago, both Gainesville and Hawthorne high schools advanced to the state basketball tournament in Lakeland, led by a pair of underclassmen, both named The Sun's players of the year.

Today, those players, senior Isaiah Jackson and junior Ed Porter, are enrolled at The Villages Charter School in Sumter County, along with former GHS players in junior Eric Turner and sophomore Vonte Scott.

Jackson, a 6-foot-6 guard/small forward who averaged 16.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.4 assists, led the Hurricanes to the Class 6A state semifinals after upset road wins over highly ranked Leesburg and Orlando Edgewater in the state playoffs. Turner, a 6-4 forward who played at Eastside as a freshman, transferred to GHS a year ago and was a key player in the 'Canes' drive to state.

Porter, a 6-6 forward who also played his freshman year at GHS, averaged 19.9 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.6 blocks a game for the 28-2 Hornets, who lost to state champion Bonifay Holmes County, led by UF signee Chris Walker, in the 1A state semifinals.

Both Jackson and Porter were runners-up for Florida Dairy Farmers Players of the Year for their classification.

“I am not at liberty to release any specific information on a GHS student, past or present due to school board policy,” said school athletic director Cindy Boulware. “I learned in July that three of our former members of the boys basketball program have withdrawn from GHS.

“In speaking for principal David Shelnutt and myself, our main focus and attention is on the students currently enrolled at Gainesville High School.”

Hawthorne boys basketball coach Greg Bowie said Porter informed him “about a week before our school started that he was attending The Villages.” The school opened Aug. 8.

During the summer, Jackson and Turner played on Florida Elite Black, a 17-under travel basketball squad that included Lamine Mbodj of St. Francis, Devaughn Jenkins and Austin Harrell of The Rock and Earl Brown of Williston. It also included Lane Munz and Kaleb Sanders of The Villages.

Porter played on Florida Select's 11th-grade travel team. The move was more about academics than athletics, according to his father, Ed Porter Sr.

“Hawthorne didn't have the teachers to teach chemistry and calculus class,” Ed Porter Sr. said. “It is a good school. They have a medical program like GHS has. Ed has a 4.3 grade-point average and academics are very important. I'm working here at The Villages, and it was a situation that worked for us.”

The Villages Charter School, which is part of a sprawling retirement community that tops 51,000 and covers portions of Sumter, Marion and Lake counties, are 0-3 in boys basketball playoff games, losing last year to Union County 86-70 in the regional semifinals. This year the Buffalo move up to 4A, District 6.

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