Since his freshman year, Emmanuel Toney has told anyone at Annapolis Area Christian School who would listen that he planned on playing college basketball at a Division I school in Texas. Now that the 6-foot-2, 185-pound combo guard is a Texas A&M-Corpus Christi commitment, life has felt “kind of surreal.”
“My recruitment was going slow for awhile,” said Toney, who pledged to the Islanders last month. “I had some looks, DII and DIII, and a couple DI. And then this year, it was just like, I don’t want to say a miracle, but my hard work paid off. [The coaches] saw my highlight film and contacted me. A lot of other schools started looking at me. I was like, ‘I’m already committed here. I wanted to go here.’”
Toney, who grew up in Abilene, Texas before moving with his family to Maryland before his freshman year, will be a preferred walk-on at TAMCC at the very least, but he expects to receive a scholarship unless the coaches fill all 13 slots. Either way, he’s excited to start his college career.
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As a junior, Toney shared time with current Maryland walk-on point guard Conner Lipinski in the Eagles’ backcourt. But as a senior, Toney took on full-time point guard duties and averaged nearly 20 points for the MIAA B Conference’s third-place team.
“He’s extremely coachable. Great moral character. Very hard working. Strong faith,” said AACS coach Doug Scheidt. “The guy can finish around the basket as well as anyone I’ve ever coached. His ball-handling and shooting in the last year of playing have improved tremendously. He’s still learning to become a point guard, but he was the all-conference point guard this year. More than that, he’s just really buying into weight lifting. His strength is set to skyrocket.”
Toney put out his highlight tape on YouTube and encouraged his friends and family to share it with others. His father, meanwhile, sent the tape to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi coaches, along with a letter from Emmanuel.
About two months ago, the Islanders responded and sent a coach up to Annapolis to scout Toney during a workout. Shortly thereafter, Toney took a visit to Corpus Christi and got a chance to play with the team during an open gym.
“I thought I was going to be really nervous,” Toney said. “[But] on the court, I just felt comfortable. Once I got to talking to the guys I’m going to be playing with, [I] just go have fun and play how I know I can play.”
Toney, whether he’s a scholarship player or a walk-on, will be expected to lead the team by example, his future coach told him. The Islanders, who finished 6-23 overall last season and 5-13 in Southland Conference play, will need all the help they can get.
Scheidt is confident that his former star player will eventually make his mark with the Islanders.
“I think he’s going to take his lumps to start,” Scheidt said. “He’ll be one of those guys that can be a practice leader. I honestly think before it’s all said and done, he’ll be an impact player for Corpus Christi.”
Said Toney: “I’m looking forward to it. I’m really just excited now that I’ve got the chance. … I know when I play hard, good results follow. … My goal is to make it to the Big Dance. We’ll see what happens. I think if we put in the work, we can do it.”