Holiday Invitational

Word of God looks to defend Holiday Invitational title

Posted December 25, 2013

Word of God 2012 Holiday Invitational Champions. WRAL HighSchoolOT.Com Invitational Basketball Tournament, 12.29.12. Word of God Champions over New Hampton 58 to 53. Photo by CHRIS BAIRD

Raleigh Word of God coach Quentin Jackson has seen plenty of success in his two years with the Holy Rams.

Going into his third season, Jackson has a 55-6 record as a head coach. Last season, Word of God went 28-3, winning its first Holiday Invitational championship since its inaugural 2007 appearance en route to a state title.

This year, with most of the core players graduating, the coach said he expects this season to involve more growing pains.

“This is a team going from eight seniors last year to one this year,” Jackson said. “The development is a continuous process.”

Even though the squad lacks in experience, Jackson has been impressed by the talent and willingness to listen to the coaches.

“The coaching staff has been very pleased with the potential we have in front of us,” Jackson said. “We have talented guards, a good team nucleus and a group of guys eager to learn and prove themselves worthy to be in a Word of God uniform.”

According to, two Holy Ram guards — Quentin Jackson Jr. and Jaylen Fornes — are ranked in the Class of 2016’s Top 20.

Jackson Jr., the seventh-ranked player on the list and second-ranked point guard, already has offers from several Division I colleges, including Appalachian State, Campbell and UNC Wilmington. Fornes, ranked 18th and considered the third-best sophomore shooting guard, has received interest from Campbell and Florida A&M.

Jackson also noted some of the key reserves from last year’s team — Demetrius Troy and Jordan Whitfield — whom he feels will play a big role.

“The coaches felt like we would be solid to start because we have a strong chemistry of guards, which usually attributes to success at the high school level,” Jackson said. “We believe we would be solid to start, and then when you have other players developing, we’ll get better each day.

Over the years, Word of God has been looked at as a powerhouse, with players such as John Wall, C.J. Leslie, Bishop Daniels and Dezmon Wells leading the school to success on the court.

Jackson said this team wants to emulate the success of previous teams while creating their own identity within the program.

“All we’re trying to do is echo what previous teams have done and build on the legacy at Word of God,” Jackson said. “Our whole goal is to take what’s been built and continue the foundation.”


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