MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — Two John Milledge Academy high school athletics fixtures are taking their talents — and their minds — to the next level.
Twins Jacob and Jared Prestwood signed on the dotted line Wednesday to continue their academic and basketball careers at Oxford College of Emory University. The two standouts went back and forth on whether or not to hang up their basketball jerseys, football cleats, baseball gloves, and running shoes for good, but ultimately decided that the package Oxford College offered to come play basketball was too good to pass up. The twins say the best aspect of it all is that they have been given this opportunity together.
“That was one of our top priorities when deciding where to go to college,” Jacob said.
“We knew going into making this decision that wherever one of us was going it was a package deal,” added Jared. “We were going together. We both kind of have the same aspirations for what we want to do in life, and Emory will really contribute to making that happen. We can do it inexpensively and we can keep playing a sport that we feel passionately about. It’ll be a lot of fun, and we’re really excited about it.”
Oxford College, located less than an hour and a half away, has a two-year men’s basketball program that plays in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association. The Prestwoods will enter as pre-med majors, play out their two years, and evaluate their options from there.
“I wasn’t dead-set on playing sports in college, but I know I wanted to get a good education for sure,” Jared said. “It all came together with Emory because it can provide that education we’re looking for and it’s an opportunity to not be that far away from home and still get the college experience.”
“That’s the best thing about going for two years,” Jacob stated. “It gives us options and the opportunity to do whatever we feel is right.”
Jacob and Jared have started for John Milledge boys basketball since the eighth grade and were coached all along the way by David Gallagher.
The head coach, with his robust background in mathematics, dove into some eye-popping statistics during the twins’ Wednesday afternoon signing ceremony. Jacob and Jared helped lead the program to a GISA AAA state runner-up finish their freshman season and a Final Four appearance the next year. They made it to four Elite Eights, and played for region championships every year of their varsity careers, winning the last three in a row. The program’s overall record in their 132-game tenure was 97-35, good for a .735 win percentage.
Both players reached the 1,000-point mark just one game apart this past season, and Jacob finished his career at 1,075 points and Jared was not far behind at 1,068. The two have seven All-Region honors between them and one All-State recognition apiece — Jacob as a junior and Jared as a senior.
Equally as important as their basketball prowess, both twins carry 4.0 GPAs and take dual enrollment classes at Georgia College.
“These young men are the epitome of what it means to be a student-athlete, and I am beyond excited that they have the opportunity to experience the joys, challenges, and personal growth that comes with being a student-athlete at the collegiate level,” Gallagher said.
The twins shared a slight previous connection with Oxford College through their varsity head coach whose wife, Tinna Gallagher, heads up the college’s women’s soccer program. The Prestwoods first started talking with Oxford men’s basketball assistant coach Timothy Terry last summer while playing at one of Georgia College’s basketball scrimmage camps. They visited the campus in the fall and verbally committed to play basketball there during their final season on the hardcourt for the Trojans. Coach Terry and Oxford grad assistant Jose Cueva were both on hand for the twins’ signing.
“Character matters,” Terry said. “That’s one of the things we like about these young men. A lot of people can play basketball, but we want young men with great character.”
Jacob and Jared are standouts in other sports arenas as well, having been a part of JMA’s 2016 state football championship and 2017 state baseball championship. John Milledge head football coach and athletic director J.T. Wall offered up the twins’ services in more than just hoops.
“You said you’ve got nine sports?” Wall asked Coach Terry, who responded affirmatively. “They’ll be two of your best at every one of them you’ve got.”