Socastee hands Hilton keys to boys basketball program

soc-logoThe Socastee High boys basketball program has struggled in recent years despite a string of big-name coaches at the helm. Now the Braves are hoping a name that is familiar to them but unfamiliar to head coaching will go a long way toward turning things around.

Socastee named alumnus Derrick Hilton it next basketball coach Tuesday, promoting him to his first head coaching position after 10 years as an assistant for the Braves. Hilton follows in the footsteps of some high-profile coaches at Socastee, all of whom he either played for or coached under at his alma mater.

“I’m truly thankful and blessed for the opportunity I have been given,” Hilton said in a statement. “I appreciate all the love and support (and) look forward to what the future holds for our Braves program. … Once a Brave, always a Brave!”

Hilton, a 1998 Socastee graduate, played for legendary coach Dan D’Antoni, the current head coach at Marshall University after serving as an assistant in the NBA. D’Antoni retired after 30 years of service in 2005, when Hilton returned to Socastee as an assistant.

He served under Tommy Johnson, who joined D’Antoni in the South Carolina Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame after a long and successful career that leveled off at Socastee. Johnson was replaced by Hilton’s predecessor, DeAndre Scott, who won a state title at Myrtle Beach High and had successful stints at Chester and Wilson.

Despite the impressive coaching pedigrees of the past, the Braves have struggled in recent years to make a foothold in Class 4A. Socastee hopes Hilton’s career as an understudy to three respected coaches will do the trick.

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