Wesley Royster, center, his family and Polk County head basketball coach Lemont Jones recently celebrated Royster's decision to play basketball at Central Carolina Community College (Jane Ollis photo)

Wesley Royster never gave up on his dream. Not built that way.

“I can never be too negative about anything,” he said. “I just keep uplifted. I never gave up hope about anything.”

That faith proved rewarded as Royster has an opportunity to fulfill his dream of playing college basketball. The recent Polk County graduate has accepted an offer to join Central Carolina Community College’s basketball program as a preferred walk-on.

Royster will head to CCCC, based in Sanford, after impressing head coach Brad McDougald and staff at a workout. Royster expects to be used as a point guard, but will be happy to be on the floor anywhere for the Cougars.

“I’m really excited about the chance to be able to continue playing basketball,” he said. “It’s what I’ve wanted to do my whole life. I’m looking forward to it.”

Royster averaged five points and 5.5 assists last season for Polk County, providing steady leadership in leading Polk to a 6-5 record. Wolverine head coach Lemont Jones expects more of the same from Royster at Central Carolina.

“I think Central Carolina is getting a steal,” Jones said. “Wesley is the complete player. He’s mature. The coach met him after the workout with his club, and right away Wesley stuck out by blending in with the open court play.

“He is a kid that as a coach, you don’t have to worry about his grades, and most important is the love and passion for the game. He’s the first player in the gym, the last to leave, always looking to improve as a player. Wesley will grow with this opportunity and the chance to play in college.

“He’s the player, son and young man that each kid should model themselves by. The future is bright for this young man.”

Royster will soon leave Polk County and head for his new residence near campus. He’ll begin attending offseason workouts with the Cougar program.

And he’s already got a new dream in mind.

“I hope to be able to get something worked out after this where I can continue playing,” Royster said.

He’s built that way, you know.