Kendrick Tucker: The Star City Sleeper


Posted On: 10/5/15 6:00 PM

The Salem/Roanoke area has produced a lot of top tier basketball talent in the past, including current NBA players JJ Redick and Troy Daniels. However, the quiet valley town snuggled in the mountains of western Virginia continually takes a backseat in basketball talks in the commonwealth.
That doesn’t seem to bother Northside senior guard Kendrick Tucker, who despite leading his team to the state semifinals last season, where they lost to eventual 3A champions George Wythe, is still flying under the radar of college coaches and recruiters across the state. After their surprising run last season, he’s not worrying as much about his recruitment as he is about completing what they came so close to achieving in Richmond last year.
“Like any team our goal is to win a state championship,” Tucker said. “Seeing what we did last year, we now know what we’re capable of and it’s only driving us to work harder and have a better season. I don’t think anyone in the area thought we would make it that far in the tournament last season.”
Returning as the senior captain and leading scorer on a talented roster, he understands the important role he has to play, and it goes beyond the numbers in the scorebook after the game.
“Since I’m a senior, I know I’m going to have to be more of a leader, and with that I’m going to have be more vocal,” Tucker said. “The whole team is putting in work with the early morning workouts we have, and I’m pushing them so hopefully the hard work will pay off with an even better season.”
A 6’2 combo guard that plays both on and off the basketball, Tucker’s versatility and ability to create for both himself and his teammates makes him one of the more valuable players in the Roanoke area. He’s got a smooth left handed stroke from deep, and when he pushes the ball in transition he’s able to create for others. He also sets the tone defensively, where he’s a scrappy perimeter defender that can guard multiple positions.
Tucker teams up with a talented sophomore guard in Nick Price to comprise perhaps the most lethal backcourt combination in the 3A classification in the entire state, and the two have been pushing each other to get better all summer. He understands that if he continues to work hard and show that he can lead a winning program, the attention from college coaches will come.
“I’m just going to keep working hard and working on every aspect of the game, while trying to do all that I can to make myself and everyone around me better,” Tucker said."
Tucker had a few nibbles from lower end division one schools, but he lists a host of division two and division three schools that are recruiting him the hardest, including Ohio Valley University (WV), Carleston, West Virginia Wesleyan, Emory and Henry, Randolph Macon and Guilford. 
While a lot of kids get swept up in the “division one or bust” mindset, the Star City native is more interested in finding the right fit to further his education and continuing to play the game he loves.
“I hope I can get an offer, but if that doesn’t happen I wouldn’t be mad because I know that I’ve worked hard and I did everything I could possibly do. Wherever I end up playings, whether it’s DI, DII or DIII, that’s just where I was meant to be. It’s all about getting an education in the long run.”
With an attitude like that, and a returning core that is stacked with talent and more experience, it won’t be much of a surprise if Northside and Tucker make another run to Richmond this season.