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Rutledge makes choice
Basketball senior selects TN Temple
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Kendall Rutledge is taking his sweet shooting stroke to Chattanooga.
Rutledge signed Thursday to attend Tennessee Temple University on a basketball scholarship, making him the 11th senior athlete from Warren County High School to extend their career to the college level.
An All-District 6-AAA performer for the Pioneers in his final season, Rutledge averaged 12 points per game for Warren County to lead the team to 13 wins and a regional-tournament berth. Rutledge joins fellow senior classmates Nick Simmons and Tucker Smith as college athletes after the pair of posts signed at Bryan College during the spring.
Rutledge was the Pioneers’ sharp shooter last season who was especially deadly from the corners. Rutledge scored in double figures 20 times as a senior, with a career-high 24 points against Cookeville on senior night.
While the senior night explosion was one of his favorite games, Rutledge’s shining moment came earlier in the year when he led the Pioneers to an upset of Tullahoma. In the December contest, Rutledge scored 23 points to help Warren County win 54-34.
It was one of the many nights Rutledge felt like his shot was true every time it left his hands.
“My favorite game was against Tullahoma when I hit five 3-pointers,” said Rutledge. “I felt like I couldn’t miss.”
Basketball has been a part of Rutledge’s life since he was five. His game has developed over the years as part of the Warren County Middle School and Warren County High School squads. By the time Rutledge was a sophomore, he was getting regular minutes for coach Malcolm Montgomery.
When his senior year rolled around, the game he played his entire life slowed down and was simple.
“I always tried to improve my game every year,” said Rutledge. “I started some my junior year, then once my senior year came around the game seemed easy to me.”
The lefty shooter will try to fill the same role when he takes the court for the Crusaders in Chattanooga next year. Tennessee Temple was on Rutledge’s radar when his cousin Bree Smith enrolled in 2012 to play for the Lady Crusaders. It proved to be his destination after speaking with new basketball coach Jeff Harlow.
“I really like the people at the college and coach Harlow is a great guy,” said Rutledge.
Rutledge plans on majoring in physical education while at Tennessee Temple as he pursues a career in college coaching.
Rutledge is the fifth WCHS senior to sign with Temple, joining softball player Monica Lane and soccer players Kimberly Warden, Lyndi Dodd and Garrett Ortiz.