Posted On: 09/30/18 10:17 AM

A versatile forward, Pittsburg rising senior Payton Cantrell is gearing up for a breakout season  after helping the Dargons advance to the Kansas 5A state championships in Topeka last season.

At 6’5, Cantrell is an athletic forward who can knock down open shots, can catch-and-shoot or pull up off the dribble and is capable of attacking the basket and is able to finish above the rim. He plays with a high motor and consistently looks for his teammates.

He spent the offseason competing for Victory Christian 17U squad and says the experience prepared him for the upcoming season and perhaps beyond.

“Playing for Victory has helped me a lot on and off the court,” Cantrell said. “It has been a lot of fun and a lot of hard work and dedication to play for victory. It has prepared me pretty well for the upcoming season and is excited to see how our team looks.”

Cantrell says he is spending the offseason working on his all-around game, focusing mostly on improving his ball handling and outside shot.

“Getting my handles to be able to handle the ball better in pressure,” Cantrell says. “Keeping consistent with my shot trying to improve it everyday. Working on in game situations making the right reads and do what I can to help my team.”

A fan of Jayson Tatum, Cantrell says the biggest impact on his basketball career to date has been his step dad, who was his coach from second grade through his freshman year.

“He pushes me to get in the gym and get better,” Cantrell said. “He helps me keep my body right and in shape to be able to do the things I need to on the court.”

Cantrell says he has heard from several college programs, including Central College, Concordia St. Paul and Missouri Southern. 

“Hopefully this season I can pick up offers and make a decision sometime after the season,” he said.