Binion walks on at MMI

Published 3:42 pm Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Keon Binion has always been a tenacious defender.

So, it makes sense that the Georgiana School graduate would enroll in Marion Military Institute with an eye toward enlisting in the United States Navy and defending his country.

“My grandfather was in the Army, so the military has always been a big part of me,” Binion said. “I’ve always known that I wanted to serve (in the military).”

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The former Panther’s first semester at MMI has done nothing but strengthen his desire to enlist.

“I’ve learned a lot about what the military is like, and I believe it’s a good fit for me,” he said. “After I get out of school I plan to make the military my career.”

A typical day for Binion begins with first call at 6 a.m. Breakfast is served at 7 a.m., and classes begin at 8 a.m. and end at noon. Lunch is then served. From there Binion heads to the gymnasium for basketball practice. Then it’s back to the books for study hall, which ends at 9:30 p.m.

“It’s pretty busy. I try to find some time to sleep too,” Binion joked.

While he’s sleeping he no doubt at times dreams of basketball. Binion said it has always been his dream to play college basketball. MMI offered him that opportunity when it invited Binion to walk on.

Georgiana head basketball coach Kirk Norris coached Binion for five seasons at Georgiana, and wasn’t at all surprised that MMI reached out to the former Panther.

“Keon is a tremendous young man and athlete,” Norris said. “He has a great work ethic and desire to improve and succeed in whatever he is doing. I had the good fortune of coaching Keon from the time he started playing basketball for Georgiana in the eighth grade, and I have watched him grow and improve as a player and young man. He has played a large part in the success of the Georgiana basketball program over the last couple of years.”

Binion, who will play shooting guard at MMI, said his time at Georgiana prepared him well to transition to the college game.

“We don’t really do anything that Coach Norris didn’t have us do,” he said. “It’s really not a big difference from Georgiana.”

Binion averaged 14.6 points and five steals per game as a senior and helped lead the Panthers to a 24-8 record and a runner-up finish in the state tournament. He was named Georgiana’s offensive MVP and to the South Regional all-tournament team.

Norris said he believes Binion’s play on the defensive end of the court, which was instrumental in the Panthers’ run to the Final Four, will earn the former Georgiana standout plenty of minutes during the upcoming season.

“I believe his offense was something that gradually developed every year (he was at Georgiana). However, his defense was something that he knew was his strength and he has done well year after year on the defensive end of the court,” Norris said. “I believe his defense was overlooked at times, but might be his biggest asset on the court. He has the strength and confidence to guard much bigger players but also has the speed and quickness to take away any teams best perimeter player.”

Binion may get the chance to guard one of the best offensive players to graduate from Georgiana in recent years on Oct. 27 when MMI faces off with Adrian Rich and Jefferson Davis Community College at the LBW Jamboree in Andalusia.

“That should be interesting,” Binion said of playing his former teammate. “We’ve never played against each other, so that should be fun. I’m looking forward to it, and I’m sure Adrian is too.”

Binion and MMI officially open their season Nov. 1 against Southern Sports Academy. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.