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Bennett Holley

Bennett Holley’s dreams of a professional basketball career came to reality this week when he agreed to play in the Balkans nation of Kosovo.

Holley, a 6-foot-7 wing player, played at North Cross prior to a 109-game career at Appalachian State.

“It’s something I’ve been working on for a while,” said Holley, who will be playing for Ponte Prizreni of the Kosovo Basketball Superleague . “Playing overseas is something I’ve always wanted to do. I thought I might as well try and chase this dream.

“It’s now or never. It’s not something I’ll be able to do later on in life.”

One of his confidants was Andre Washington, a teammate when Holley played at Roanoke Catholic as a freshman.

“He played in this league and gave me some names,” Holley said. “One of the agents and I spoke for a couple of days and were able to get a deal late [Tuesday] night.”

Holley will be living in Prizren, a city of 130,000 that is the second-largest city in Kosovo, which is located north of Greece and south of Serbia. The season starts in mid-September.

In addition to his salary, Bennett will receive free housing and free food.

“It’s a good gig for my first year, so I’m excited,” he said.

Where are they now?

Deondre Francois, the starting quarterback for Florida State in its 2018 opener against Virginia Tech, has transferred to Hampton of the Football Championship Subdivision.

Although the Seminoles were 24-3 losers to Tech, Francois took 396 of 455 FSU snaps for the season and passed for 2,731 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Francois, dismissed by Florida State in the offseason, originally had planned to transfer to Florida Atlantic but those plans fell through. He only recently joined the program at Hampton, where Robert Prunty is the head coach.

“Since he’s been here, he’s been outstanding,” Prunty told 247Sports. “You talk about leadership — what’s impressed me the most is how he’s mentoring the younger guys. And you can see how they gravitate toward him.”

  • Freshman Sam Howell, one of the candidates for the starting quarterback position at North Carolina, originally was committed to Florida State before Mack Brown was named head coach at UNC and flipped Howell, a four-star prospect from Monroe, North Carolina.

Around the ODAC

  • Mike Clark is entering his 25th season as the head football coach at Bridgewater, where he is the longest tenured active college head coach in the state and also has the most victories, 154.

Clark is in his 40th season as a college coach, having served as a defensive coordinator under Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech. Clark, a former University of Cincinnati defensive back, earlier had worked for Beamer at Murray State.

  • Alex Vaught, a 6-foot-6, 225-pound tight end from Roanoke Catholic, has sparked some early buzz at Washington and Lee, where he is a freshman.


Old Dominion has taken a commitment from Devin Lester, a 5-foot-11 all-purpose standout from Graham High School in Bluefield who is projected as a wide receiver.

Lester is expected to play quarterback at Graham this season after accounting for 1,800 all-purpose yards last year as the G-Men captured the Class 2 state championship.

Doug Doughty is in his 44th year at the Roanoke Times, having produced an estimated 10,000 by-lines, a majority of them on University of Virginia athletics.

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