UPPER MARLBORO – It can be hard to watch players that share a special bond end their time together.
Some may remember the “big three” from the Boston Celtics: Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo. Each player left the team by 2015 and their departures marked the end of an era.
In Prince George’s County, Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. had a big three that knew each other since the eighth grade and played for the varsity basketball team from 2014-2017.
That big three was Brent Pegram, Darron Barnes and Michael Speight.
“(Mike, Darron and I) have a great relationship. Ever since middle school when all three of us linked up, we have just become closer and closer,” Pegram said. “I got real love for both of these guys and I know they have the same for me. We all want the best for each other and want everyone to succeed.”
After another great season with the Pumas, the three will now go their separate ways as they continue their playing careers at the next level.
The three combined for a 54-14 record throughout their three years, and were top three scoring options their junior year, combining for more than 40 points-per-game. This past year the trio helped the Pumas go undefeated in the 4A division and finished with a record of 20-0. Unfortunately, they came up short in the state semifinals, which resulted in a record of 21-1.
“It was just an amazing experience at Wise. The program can’t compare to any other public school program in the DMV. It is run like a college program and gets us ready for the next level,” Pegram said. “The coaches do an amazing job of getting us ready for the next level. We have the best group of coaches in the state.”
Starting with the point guard, Pegram, who committed to Wheeling Jesuit University on April 12 over Shepherd University, will bring a fast-paced game and high motor next year.
“Choosing Wheeling Jesuit was the best decision for me because when I went on the visit, it just felt like home right away. Coach (Dan) Sancomb has a winning culture over there so I can come in and help to win a national championship,” he said. “I think I can step in and be the leader as a freshman. I will make plays for the team. Whether it’s scoring, assisting or defending, I just want to make plays.”
A 6-foot-6, 230-pound point forward, Barnes decided to do a prep year at Massanutten Military Academy (Virginia) next year instead of committing to a college. Barnes had offers from Radford, Maine, Towson, Manhattan and High Point University amongst others.
Wise Head Coach Rob Garner said Barnes did not take the decision lightly, and turned to him for advice.
“For him to think of me as one of the top people in his life, to sit down and talk with about his decision, just meant a lot to me,” he said. “It took time for him to figure out if he wanted to do prep school or junior college.
“Massanutten, where he decided to play at, is not just any prep school. Coach Chad Myers does a great job of helping kids with their discipline and has a great structure set up for him to grow as a young man.”
Barnes had a successful career at Wise. He averaged 15.5 points and 9.7 rebounds his junior year, and then 13.5 points and 10.7 rebounds in his final year.
“Being here was just an amazing experience. I didn’t get the state championship I wanted, but at least I got to witness the guys that did my freshman year,” Barnes said. “We came really close this year and had a great season.”
Speight, The Sentinel’s Player of the Year this season, has yet to make a commitment. He holds offers from Towson, Sam Houston State, USC, Canisius, Winthrop and New Hampshire.
Speight was a member of the 2013 state championship team, but did not get much playing time. Still, he gained experience, and it was a big reason why he was the program’s star the past three years. He will be running with the New World AAU Program this summer with Barnes as they get ready for the next level.