Career path keeping Lee on the move
FITHIAN — Cameron Lee is the All-Star of the All-Stars.
The recent Oakwood High School graduate is well-credentialed.
Last weekend, he was the starting right tackle for the victorious East squad in its 24-23 victory in the Order of the Eastern Star game in Decatur.
He will put on a different uniform Friday as he suits up for the Eastern Illinois squad in the second John Spezia-sponsored Battle of the Border basketball game at Palmer Arena.
If Lee weren't already so busy, he could have accepted an invitation to the state's All-Star baseball game last weekend in Peoria.
"Basketball may be my favorite sport," said Lee, who also played in The News-Gazette all-star game at Parkland College. "I'm excited to have this chance."
He will have more chances before long, just not in his favorite sport.
The 6-foot-5, 285-pound Lee has accepted an invitation to join the Illinois State football program as a preferred walk-on. He reports in mid-August.
"I've always wanted to play a Division I sport," Lee said. "I just didn't know what sport or where."
Until he entered Oakwood in the fall of 2008, Lee had never played organized football. Youth leagues have a weight limit and Lee said, "I was too heavy to play."
He got the hang of it quickly. An all-conference first-teamer as a senior, he opened holes for Ryan Strange, who rushed for 1,875 yards and scored 22 touchdowns.
Lee realizes there are no guarantees with the Redbirds.
"It's hard to get a shot as a contributing player, but it's something that's definitely doable," he said. "I think I have a shot."
He received similar interest from Indiana State, which also wanted the sociology major to enroll as a recruited walk-on.
Lee sees football as part of his long-term future.
"I want to be a football coach," he said.
He finished his senior year as an all-conference first-teamer in three sports. In basketball, he averaged 13.8 points and 9.6 rebounds per game.
In baseball, the second-team All-Area pick batted .424 with six home runs. He was also the winning pitcher in five games.
He will be one of the 12 boys available to Eastern Illinois coach Deon Mennenga for the weekend basketball series. Friday's 7:30 p.m. game at Palmer Arena will be followed by the 7 p.m. finale Saturday at Covington (Ind.) High School.
"It's basically the same guys as were in The News-Gazette game," Lee said. "I've seen I can play with these guys. I'm pretty confident."
Mennenga's team features seven of the eight seniors who were picked to The News-Gazette All-Area first team. They are Urbana's P.J. Blissit, Rantoul's Travis Britt, Central's Corvon Butler, Centennial's Devin Carter, Mahomet-Seymour's Reid Farchmin, Unity's Aaron Larson and Bismarck-Henning's Tanner Ribbe.
Also on the roster are Bismarck-Henning's Stephen Krout — who earned 12 varsity letters — Fisher's Dylan Chapman, Danville's Dennis Hightower and Unity's Alex Thorson.
Girls' basketball. Friday's two-game schedule starts with a 5:30 p.m. girls' game. Armstrong-Potomac coach Nick Hipsher will have a final chance to coach his scoring leader, Lake Land-bound Brooke Markwalder. Hipsher is assisted by brothers Dave and Mike Chandler.
St. Joseph-Ogden's Josey Fruhling is the lone All-Area first-teamer playing for the Eastern Illinois all-stars.
The series concludes Saturday at Covington, with the girls' game beginning at 5 p.m. and the boys' taking the court at 7.
All-star football. Lee was among the area standouts in Saturday's 22nd Order of the Eastern Star game at Millikin. Central's Bradley Wright was the game's top rusher with 137 yards on 14 carries. He scored two touchdowns for the East and earned team Most Valuable Player accolades.
Urbana's Marcus Hendricks hauled in two passes from Tuscola's Philip Meyer and had 115 yards. His 75-yard scoring reception — followed by the third of three conversion kicks by Arcola's Pedro Leal — supplied the winning points for the East in its one-point triumph. Leal also had a 25-yard field goal.
The West scored with 33 seconds remaining, but its two-point conversion failed, leaving the final score at 24-23 for the East.
Meyer was 4 of 10 for 131 passing yards. Central's Jamir Stovall had two catches for 16 yards. Unity's Michael Lafenhagen rushed for 10 yards on six carries. Georgetown-Ridge Farm's Ryan Dieu gained 12 yards on four carries. Meyer rushed for 5 yards on seven attempts, and Tuscola's Jimmy Knight had 3 yards on his only carry.
Signing on. St. Thomas More's Jarred Koerner, a straight-A student, signed a letter of intent to continue his cross-country and track and field careers at Murray State. His top time this spring in the 1,600 meters was 4 minutes, 29.47 seconds.
All-Star basketball rosters
Boys’ Eastern Illinois
NAME HT. SCHOOL
P.J. Blissit 6-0 Urbana
Travis Britt 6-3 Rantoul
Corvon Butler 6-5 Champaign Central
Devin Carter 6-4 Centennial
Dylan Chapman 6-3 Fisher
Reid Farchmin 6-4 Mahomet-Seymour
Dennis Hightower 6-0 Danville
Stephen Krout 6-7 Bismarck-Henning
Aaron Larson 6-7 Unity
Cameron Lee 6-5 Oakwood
Tanner Ribbe 6-2 Bismarck-Henning
Alex Thorson 5-11 Unity
Deon Mennenga Bismarck-Henning
Gene Gourley Ex-Danville
Boys’ Western Indiana
NAME HT. SCHOOL
Aaron Bellgraph 6-5 North Central
Austin Burton 6-1 Southmont
Cody Jeffries 5-10 Rockville
Cody Kuiper 6-3 Seeger
Caleb Nicley 6-2 Western Boone
Rashad Richardson 6-5 Lafayette Jefferson
Jermaine Smith 6-0 Terre Haute South
Anthony Spezia 6-2 Covington
Lucas Steward 6-2 Terre Haute South
Jeffrey Turner 6-1 Terre Haute South
Jeff Woods 6-1 Turkey Run
Michael Byrum South Vermillion
7:30 p.m. Friday at Palmer Arena, Danville
7 p.m. Saturday at Covington (Ind.) High School
Girls’ Eastern Illinois
NAME HT. SCHOOL
J’Lynn Ayers 5-11 Danville
Makenzie Baker 5-10 Oakwood
Josey Fruhling 5-8 St. Joseph-Ogden
Lori Haas 5-10 Bismarck-Henning
Brooke Markwalder 5-8 Armstrong-Potomac
Larissa Moses 6-1 Shiloh
Tanna Petersak 5-9 Schlarman
Ashlen Portwood 5-10 Milford
Samantha Siddens 5-10 Bismarck-Henning
Paige Thevenin 6-2 Chrisman
Emily Weinard 5-9 Bismarck-Henning
Nick Hipsher Armstrong-Potomac
Dave Chandler Armstrong-Potomac
Mike Chandler Westville
Courtney Porter Shiloh
Girls’ Western Indiana
NAME HT. SCHOOL
Chelsea Carver 5-5 Fountain Central
Ayren Cobb 5-6 Benton Central
Kelsey Griswold 5-6 Seeger
Christen Lord 5-7 Seeger
Madison Stockdale 5-7 Fountain Central
Kelcey Swisher 5-7 Seeger
Miranda Syneseal 5-10 Seeger
Arielle Verhey 5-8 Seeger
Casey West 5-8 North Vermillion
Brent Rademacher Seeger
5:30 p.m. Friday at Palmer Arena, Danville
5 p.m. Saturday at Covington (Ind.) High School