Coffield, Barber, Willis still playing the games they love

Published 1:39 am Tuesday, January 22, 2008

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
Many area high school basketball players dream of playing in the NBA or WNBA
While they’re not there yet, a few former area athletes are continuing their careers overseas. They’re able to continue playing the game they love while getting paid for it.
Elton Coffield, Joseph Barber and Courtney Willis are among those taking advantage of playing basketball in different countries.
Just 0.03 percent of high school boys basketball players will play in the pros. Only 0.02 percent of prep girls basketball players will play professionally.
Coffield, a former star basketball player at Williamston High School and Mount Olive College, still holds out hope of playing in the NBA. In the meantime, he’s honing his skills and lighting up the scoreboard with the BSW Sixers in Germany.
Coffield is currently averaging 23.8 points per game for the Sixers.
For those wanting to follow in his footsteps, Coffield offered some advice.
Coffield is hoping that playing well in Germany will help open some doors closer to home.
Barber is also lighting up the scoreboard, only in a different part of the world.
After having a stellar career at Terra Ceia Christian School, Barber went on to have a solid career at UNC-Asheville.
He’s found success overseas, most currently with the Derby Trailblazers in England. Barber is averaging 26 points and 11 rebounds per game for Derby.
He said he feels fortunate to get have the job he does.
Willis, a former standout at ECU, is enjoying success overseas as well. She’s currently playing with Carispe La Spezia in Italy.
Willis, who graduated from ECU as the fifth-leading scorer in Lady Pirates history with 1,374 points, is currently averaging 13.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. She had season-highs of 26 points and 16 rebounds in one game.
Willis is hoping to enjoy basketball and playing wherever she can for as long as she can.