Young Talent Will Mean Future Success for the Carroll Chargers Basketball Team

Peyton Monnell, Staff Writer

The Carroll Chargers basketball team has had a long living of success in the past, present, and possibly in the future?

The Chargers could see even more positive results soon. Carroll basketball has been known for producing all-around good players. Seniors on the team this year such as; David Ejah, Dan McKeeman, and Preston Shearer are all on their last season with the basketball program. This means new talent will need to step up and hold Carroll Basketball to their standards.

Overall, it is looking very promising.

With two starting juniors and two more sophomores right off the bench, the Carroll Chargers are looking for a run in the near future.This young talent has proved they have what it takes to play at the varsity level. Ryan Preston, a sixth man for the Chargers, started the season on JV as one of the top five. A few games in, he began receiving noticeable playing time in the varsity line-up. Sam Strycker also helps the varsity with close to equal playing time with Preston.

Preston has begin coming off the bench hot for the chargers, finishing with 14 points against Bishop Luers on Friday Night. Preston showed a high basketball IQ and helped the Chargers tremendously on defense.

“Ryan Preston gives us a bouncy guard, he’s athletic, he’s fearless, he can handle a little bit, he can shoot a little bit, he’s very active defensively, I really like the way he just competes” Beasley said.

His ability to make plays on both side of the ball has been an important factor in his playing time at the varsity level. Preston has shown an impressive improvement all year long and continues to grow his game.  

Strycker’s height standing at six foot four inches, has been a key factor in rebounds and gaining another opportunity at the basket. Strycker finished with another 9 points Friday night. Losing guys like David Ejah and Preston Shearer, the Chargers are leaning on Strycker to take over the big man spot under the basket.

“Sam is so strong and athletic, he gives us another post player that can battle inside to rebound the ball, and is doing a great job of crashing the glass. He can also defend at a really high level” Beasley said.

Strycker is averaging 2.5 rebounds per game, behind Shearers 4.6 and Ejah’s 9.7. Another two years for Strycker on the Charger basketball team could be a deadly weapon on both sides of the ball.   

On the JV level, Freshman, Jalen Jackson has been a promising point guard for the future varsity chargers. Finishing his last game against the Dekalb Barons, Jackson finished the game with 15 points and 8 assists.

While sophomore Cody Burkey finished with 22 points and 5 three-pointers. These young players seem to already be playing at the level head coach Marty Beasley would like to see.

“Jalen is a really good ball handler, he can shoot, so he’s going to be a really really good player for us…if we have the opportunity to give him a full quarter or close to a full quarter of varsity time we have to do that.“  

And after seemingly putting up good numbers and outplaying his competition, Jackson received just that.

Against Dekalb, Jackson was put into the varsity game in the fourth quarter. Jackson finished with another 7 points in under 5 minutes. Although Jackson has put up impressive numbers on the offensive side, he believes his defense is what needs to be improved before obtaining the starting spot on varsity. Jackson stated, “Next year, they just want me to set myself up well, so all I need to do is just work on my defense and improve it to the best of my ability.”

Jackson has high hopes for the future and looks to make a significant impact on this team. He believes he possesses specific skills that will help the team as so, “I feel like I can share the ball well with my teammates, I can get them the ball, and I can score when my team needs me to.” An attitude like this is exactly the type of leadership Carroll is looking for out of these young players.

Jackson is excited to see what this Carroll basketball team will do in the future, and notable teammates have sparked Jackson’s excitement. “We lost Ryan Preston because he moved up, but he’s going to be a great help for us in the next few years as well.” With Jackson and Preston being some of the youngest players on the court, Carroll’s next few years could see a very positive outcome.

A significant showing of aggressiveness and leadership thrives from these young players, but with the help of a good upperclassmen group, guys like Jackson, Preston, and Strycker can grow their game. “Coach Beasley always talks to the seniors about leadership and even though sometimes we aren’t always happy, and situations aren’t going the way we want them to be, we gotta have a voice and come together. The seniors have been working on that, and it’s been helping me a lot.” Jackson said.

Carroll’s bench may consist of young talent, but that could mean positive outcomes in the near future. Marty Beasley and the Charger basketball team have a lot to be excited for, and there is no doubt that this team will be contending for a sectional championship within the next few years.