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Derrick Mahone/Douglas County Sentinel Former Douglas County High standout Khalyl Waters is averaging 11.4 points in his first season at Georgia Highlands in Rome.

Georgia Highlands coach Phil Gaffney has been impressed with Khalyl Waters basketball skills, but it’s another trait that he is most impressed with after 12 games.

The 6-foot-5 Waters has stepped into a leadership role in his first year at the two-year Rome school.

Aside from being one of the team’s top scorers and rebounders, Waters is also one of the leaders.

“He is definitely having a sound start for us,” Gaffney said. “I like his leadership qualities on the floor. We only had one player back from last year so we needed some people to step up. You definitely have to have leaders.”

And the former Douglas County High standout is filling that void.

Since transferring from NCAA Div. II Lincoln Memorial in Tennessee, Waters has been one of the Chargers’ leaders in the statistical categories. He is third on the team with an 11.4 scoring average and second with a 4.6 rebounding average.

The Chargers open conference play on Saturday when they take on Atlanta Metropolitan College in Atlanta. This will be the closes that Waters play to home.

“I’ve had to make some adjustments but its going real good for me,” Waters said. “School is close enough to home that my family gets to see me play. I’ve been playing with a lot of confidence. The biggest thing is that I’ve been trying to lead the team.”

Last season at Lincoln Memorial, Waters redshirted as the team finished as South Atlantic Conference runner-up to Queens. Lincoln Memorial reached the NCAA Div. II Elite Eight Tournament.

However, Waters decided to transfer following the season. He landed at Georgia Highlands, which has produced some players onto the next level of college basketball.

Gaffney said that Waters fits his team’s uptempo style.

“Khalyl can play several positions for us,” Gaffney said. “He is a tireless worker who gets up and down the court. He is one of those guys that is position-less and can move around on the court. He handles the ball on the perimeter for us.”

Waters said he will make up his mind as to whether to come back to Georgia Highlands next season or move on to a four-year school. He said it just depends on how the recruiting goes for him.

“I’m undecided right now,” he said. “My main focus is the season and helping Georgia Highland be successful. I will make what I feel is the best decision at the right time.”

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