Hickory's Corpening Signs with Wingate University

Hickory's Corpening Signs with Wingate University
Posted on 03/23/2016
corpening

Hickory’s Corpening
Signs with Wingate

Caron Corpening was barely walking when his dad first introduced him to a basketball court. “I had a diaper bag over one shoulder, my son in one arm and a basketball in the other,” said Craig Largent, Caron’s dad. “Caron took to the ball right away—trying to dribble before he could walk.” And that’s how it all began.

Today—Corpening, who recently finished his senior basketball season at Hickory High, has been awarded a full athletic scholarship to play for Wingate University. Tuition, room, board and even books—are all covered. “That’s a savings of $39,000 a year!” said Largent, with pride and joy.

Born in Lenoir, NC, Corpening never stopped playing the game after his initial father-and-son visit to a local basketball court.  Whether shooting hoops at home, playing with a recreation group or an AAU league, basketball became a daily passion for Corpening.

Just prior to his junior year of high school, Corpening enrolled at Hickory Career and Arts Magnet High School where he could study with the Forensics Academy and also play on the basketball team at Hickory High. “It’s been wonderful that I could attend the academy programs at HCAM and still play sports at HHS,” said Corpening. “I’ve made friends at both schools. I appreciate the school system working it out so that students can participate in classes and sports at both high schools.”

With only a few months left of his senior year, Corpening, going into senior mode, shared the best part of his high school journey: “Without a doubt—it’s been the coaching by Andy Poplin. He is the best coach I’ve ever had! I learned so much from him and he is by far, the best ball shooter of any of us,” said Corpening. “Coach Poplin even coached my dad back in the mid ‘90’s at West Caldwell High where Poplin served as the assistant coach. He’s been a part of our family for a long time. He knows when to discipline me—when to encourage me—and when to help keep me focused,” said Corpening.

Corpening admits that he is ready to leave high school and begin college. “I look forward to the college experience. Wingate is a beautiful campus and I couldn’t be any happier about my future. I plan to major in corporate business and management with a possible minor in criminal justice,” he said.

“I won’t be far from home which I know pleases my parents, but most of all, I will miss my teammates. We have an incredible bond,” said Corpening. “Our bond is so strong that we can read each other on the court. We can see in one another’s eyes the next move and how to play the game. It’s been amazing,” he said.

“Of course, I will also miss putting on my #3 jersey,” added Corpening, with his trademark smile.

“I'm so excited for Caron,” said Coach Poplin. “He has worked extremely hard to earn this scholarship. Caron spent two seasons with me on the varsity basketball team and we went 49-7. He’s quiet with a no nonsense approach to leadership that made him one of the most dependable players I've ever coached.

“Caron never got too high or too low; he was never rattled. He was always on an even keel and ready to go. I think Wingate got a good player and an even better person. I look forward to seeing him thrive at the next level,” said Poplin.

Corpening averaged 11.5 points, 5.7 assists and two steals per game.  In his two seasons at Hickory High the Tornado team won 49 games and lost seven.

The son of both Largent and Mortasha Corpening, this university-bound point guard has always had family support. Grandparents, cousins, teammates, coaches—it’s been one big encouraging family since he was that tiny toddler walking out on a court for the first time.

Now it’s time to build a new family at Wingate University. “I’ve enjoyed a fantastic experience with the Hickory High Tornadoes,” said Corpening, “but thanks to everyone along my journey -- the door has opened to join the Wingate Bulldogs. I can’t wait.”

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(Photos/article by Beverly Snowden, HPS director of communications)

To view more photos, visit the HPS Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/hickoryschools/