Home Local Sports Xavier Pettigrew: Official Richmond County Male Athlete of the Week

Xavier Pettigrew: Official Richmond County Male Athlete of the Week

Junior power forward Xavier Pettigrew has been named the Official Richmond County Male Athlete of the Week.

Name: Xavier Pettigrew

Age: 16

Year: Junior

Winter Sport: Basketball

Position: Power Forward

Years on Varsity: 1 year

Height & Weight: 6’3”, 180 lbs.

Experience: 12 years (played organizational basketball since he was five)

Xavier Pettigrew has been named the Official Richmond County Male Athlete of the Week presented by McNair Auto Sales. In his first year as a student at Richmond Senior High School upon his transfer from Temple Christian School, Pettigrew has proven through the first five games to be one of Richmond’s most dominant players. His nomination comes in the way of him being Richmond’s most consistent scorer, as well as a perfect fit at power forward and center for the Raiders.

RSHS Academics: This is not the first time Pettigrew has been enrolled in public school, as he’s done multiple stints at Temple and at various Richmond County schools. Most recently, before this year, Pettigrew attended Rockingham Middle School for sixth and seventh grade before transferring back to Temple for eighth to tenth grade. Pettigrew noted that he plans to attend Richmond until graduation in 2019.

“Richmond is definitely different than Temple,” Pettigrew said. “At Richmond, there are a lot of different crowds and it’s much more diverse than my old school. But I like it here. I’ve gotten to know a lot of great people.”

An A/B honor roll student, Pettigrew says that his schooling is just as important as his athletic successes. This semester, he’s in English III, Math II, Civics and Weight Training. When asked what his favorite subject is, he said without a doubt it’s Melissa Garner’s English III class.

“In Ms. Garner’s class I get to expand my knowledge in reading,” Pettigrew explained. “I like how we get to do a lot of projects. (Recently) I had to make a poster and present it to the class.”

RSHS Sports: Pettigrew wasted no time getting involved at Richmond in terms of athletics, as he was a part of the varsity football team this fall. As a wide receiver, Pettigrew had limited playing time, but says that he enjoyed being on the team and will be working to get more minutes as a senior.

“We have great coaching on the football team,” Pettigrew said. “(Head) coach Bryan Till is a smart guy. I just enjoyed being a part of the team this year. We’re like a family.”

This spring, Pettigrew plans on trying out for the track and field team, noting that he hopes to participate in the high jump event.

Extracurricular Activities: One club that Pettigrew is involved with at Richmond is the African American History Club that’s headed by Cherice Washington.

“A lot of my friends were in (the club),” Pettigrew noted. “And they said it was a lot of fun, so I decided to join. One of the best things is getting to visit colleges.

“We’ve visited North Carolina Central and North Carolina A&T (universities),” Pettigrew continued. “It was an experience that allowed me to see what the colleges were like and introduced me to what to expect. We also watch movies, which is cool.”

Another community sports organization Pettigrew is involved with is Amateur Athletic Union basketball. His dad, and current Richmond varsity basketball coach, Donald Pettigrew, has coached him and several other current Raiders’ players throughout the various stages of AAU ball. Pettigrew explained that AAU has helped make him a better, more experienced player.

Hobbies: In his down time between sports seasons and when he’s not practicing or in the gym, Pettigrew said he enjoys hanging out with his friends and playing video games. Proclaiming that he’s a Playstation 4 guy, he mainly likes to play sports games like Madden and NBA 2K18.

And of course, he enjoys remaining active in his spare time, too. Pettigrew said he can be found playing pickup basketball with his friends, which is something they all enjoy.

Interesting Fact: Most of the time, featured student-athletes have to take a couple of minutes to think of an interesting fact. But for Pettigrew, it was a no-brainer. Sentimental in value, his interesting fact deal with memories from when he was younger.

“I love fish tanks,” Pettigrew exclaimed with a chuckle. “I have a 55-gallon fish tank, and it always surprises people when they come to my house and see it.

“I got interested in fish (and fishing) because when I was younger, my granddaddy took me fishing, and I enjoyed it,” he continued. “I have all kinds of tropical fish, too. But some of my favorites are my Oscar, red devil and parrot fishes.”

High School/College Aspirations: As Pettigrew acknowledged, his senior year will be here before he knows it. That in mind, he says that he has a lot of aspirations to accomplish before going off to college. And they start in the classroom.

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“My goals while I’m still in high school are to stay on A/B honor roll and get my GPA up,” Pettigrew said.

“I also want to win a state championship in basketball,” he added with a smile.

In thinking about post-secondary education, Pettigrew said that he is definitely considering going to college, and is working hard to get an opportunity to play college basketball.

“I’m thinking about becoming a veterinarian,” Pettigrew explained. “I’ve always like helping animals, so I could see myself doing that for a living. Two summers ago, I interned at Cooley Veterinary Hospital in Rockingham. I just want to help (with animals).”

Playing basketball at the college level is a possibility, as Pettigrew noted he’s received some interest from local universities, most notably Fayetteville State University.

“During an AAU tournament, there were people from Fayetteville State there,” Pettigrew said. “They were asking about me and said they liked the way I play. I’d like to play there, but I am also interested in playing at High Point (University) and (the University of) Tennessee.”

Mentors: When discussing who his biggest life mentors are, Pettigrew picked two men who have been extremely influential in making him a better individual and basketball player. He chose his father, Donald, and his former basketball coach with at Temple, John Byrd.

“I’ve been playing for my pops since I was little,” Pettigrew said of his father. “We bonded over sports and have always had a connection with each other over basketball.

“Playing for him (at Richmond) is cool,” Pettigrew continued. “He pushes me hard and always expects more out of me. Sometimes people think we’re fussing at each other – it’s just how we communicate.”

Byrd, who was Pettigrew’s coach for his eighth through tenth grade years at Temple, impacted Pettigrew on the court and in the classroom.

“Coach Byrd pushed me, too,” Pettigrew commented. “But he has helped me on and off the court, especially with my schoolwork and helping me be a better person.”

Player of the Week Stats: Though the Raiders are just five games into their 24-game regular season with a 1-4 record, Pettigrew has proven to be one of the strongest performers on the hardwood night in and night out.

This season, he is averaging 14.2 points per game, and has a season-high 18 points against Clayton High School last week. At power forward and center, Pettigrew can be found driving the lane, picking up rebounds and is an almost guarantee at the free throw line.

Also, he’s clutch down the stretch, as he netted 12 points in the fourth quarter in a narrow, buzzer-beating loss to Clayton. Though he’s had a good start to his season, Pettigrew expects to continue to get better as the games progress.

What has your transition from Temple to Richmond been like in terms of basketball? What do you enjoy most about playing for the Raiders?

“The transition has been good, and I’m glad I’m a Raider,” Pettigrew noted. “The biggest difference is the speed of the game. At Temple, I could slow the game down to run (the tempo), but at Richmond, it’s more up-tempo and guys I play against are faster and more athletic.

“My favorite part about playing here is playing for my dad,” he continued. “It’s a special thing. We’ve been talking about it for a long time, and he finally has the head coaching job. I like being able to play for him. And my teammates – they’re my brothers. We’re there for each other as a family win or lose.”

Coach’s Corner: As previously mentioned, head coach Donald Pettigrew is Pettigrew’s father. He, like his son, isn’t taking this experience for granted. And he notes that the best is still yet to come for the junior forward.

“As his father, and his coach, I expect him to be one of the best players in the (Sandhills Athletic) Conference,” coach Pettigrew said. “I expect a lot out of him, and Xavier knows that. I may push him hard sometimes, but he knows why I push him.

“This is so special, being able to coach him at the high school level. There’s nothing like it,” Pettigrew continued. “I know these next two years are going to fly by, but we’re just going to enjoy it.”

The head coach also promises there are great things on the horizon for Pettigrew and the Raiders.

“Right now, we haven’t seen his best (performance),” Pettigrew said. “He’s nowhere near where he should be. But once you see that, you’ll see what he’s all about. Xavier, and the Raiders, have a lot to offer this season.”

Look for Pettigrew on the Richmond Observer’s flagship news program Live at 5, as he’ll be in studio for Thursday’s edition.

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Kyle Pillar is a nine-time North Carolina Press Association award-winning sports editor with The Richmond Observer. Follow the sports department on Twitter @ROSports_ for the best in-depth coverage of Richmond County sports.