When N.C. Coaches Association Executive Director Phil Weaver phoned Sonny Schofield recently, the Statesville High School boys basketball coach assumed it was to discuss something they had previously spoken to each other about.
To Schofield’s surprise, that wasn’t the reason for the call.
“Nah, that’s not it,’” Schofield recounted Weaver saying. “‘We want you to coach the West team this coming year.’”
And so he shall.
Schofield will coach this region’s top high school seniors in the 72nd annual NCCA East-West All-Star men’s basketball game next July in Greensboro. Head coaches and assistant coaches for each of the 2020 All-Star games were released to the media over the weekend.
A veteran basketball coach who guided Statesville High to the 3A state final in 2013, Schofield was unaware he was even being considered for the role.
“To be respected by your fellow coaches and to be nominated and then to get the job is one of the highest honors that I can think of for a basketball coach,” Schofield said. “I was numb sort of when he asked me. I was pleasantly surprised. I really thank them for the opportunity to do that because it’s a small fraternity. Not a lot of coaches get to do it. It’s a giant honor.”
This past season marked Schofield’s 25th as a varsity basketball coach in Iredell County. He led the Greyhounds to the North Piedmont Conference regular season and tournament championships. The R&L County Boys Basketball Coach of the Year served at South Iredell before taking the reins at Statesville, his alma mater.
Three of his former players—Tony Davenport (South Iredell, 1996), Jason Morris (South Iredell, 1998) and Josh Gaither (Statesville, 2013)—were picked to play in the East-West All-Star game. Admittedly, that made Schofield proud.
Joining Schofield on the sideline next summer in Greensboro will be his assistant Bill Chambers (Northern Guilford). They’ll try to pick up where the West left off earlier this month when it romped past the East 119-80.
That inevitably entails assembling a strong team and matching wits with East head coach Eric Davis (Wilmington Laney) and his assistant Bobby Williams (Williamston Riverside Martin).
Filling out the roster is not always so clear cut as it might seem. Iredell County high school basketball enthusiasts will likely remember when South Iredell’s Michael Ellis averaged better than 30 points and 10 rebounds per game as a senior, finished first-team Associated Press All-State and second in state player of the year voting but was not a West selection for the 2004 All-Star game.
“I’m going to go after the best 10 that I can get,” Schofield said. “I know some people won’t be able to play in it because their colleges won’t let them, but I’ll go after the best 10 that I can get. It will be time consuming, looking at a lot of video and getting a lot of advice from other coaches that I know that will give me some good, sound advice.
“But I’m not going to be political at all,” he added. “That was crazy that Mike didn’t get to play in the game. He averaged 30 points a game. Before I left South he averaged 24 for me. As junior he averaged 27."