Lance Tejada III, a throwback, pass-first point guard for reigning Class 7A state champion Pompano Beach Blanche Ely, ended his recruitment with an oral commitment to East Carolina University during an official visit Saturday.
With exceptional court vision, ability to finish at the rim and yo-yo like ball-handling which allows him to keep his dribble alive until a play develops, the four-star prospect appears poised to make an immediate impact for East Carolina head coach Jeff Lebo, a former point guard for legendary North Carolina coach Dean Smith.
“Coach Lebo is a great coach and great person,’’ Tejada said. “He is going to push me to get better, especially at the point guard position. He played for North Carolina and then in the NBA for a couple years. He knows what it takes on the next level. He has been through it all.”
Tejada, a member of the ESPN 100, selected the Pirates over more prominent programs, including Alabama, Butler, Florida State, Miami, George Mason, Murray State, Tennessee and Virginia.
Tejada jumped on the radar three years ago when he and fellow freshman guard Zach Johnson led Miramar to their first state Final Four appearance.
Following his sophomore season, Tejada created a buzz with his transfer to perennial state power Ely. Tejada’s playmaking ability was the ideal complement to a formidable four-guard attack that brought the Tigers (27-2) its second consecutive state championship and back-to-back berth in the ESPN National Tournament.
As part of the Tigers’ All-State backcourt with Dallas Cameron, Tejada averaged 12 points, 8.2 assists and 2.6 steals. Tejada is known for his passing but proved he can score when called upon with a game-high 24 points in a 71-52 victory over Bartow in the Class 7A state semifinals.
Even more will be expected of Tejada this season as the Tigers embark on its bid for a third consecutive state championship under five-time state champion coach Melvin Randall.
“I didn’t expect to commit this early, but when I got to East Carolina I didn’t want to leave,’’ Tejada said. “It felt like I knew their team forever and it was just one day. I’m glad the weight is off my shoulders thinking about where I’m going. Now all I have to focus on is basketball and helping Mr. Randall get that three-peat.“