Posted On: 10/16/18 2:59 PM
There are some districts that provide good competition night in and night out on the basketball court. For the last ten years, district 1-4A has been one of those districts. Over the years, each team in the district has had a player, or players, who have made a difference in the their team being a playoff team or a championship contender. In this article, we will take a look at players to watch in the district during the 2018-19 season.
Cedric Emerson / 5’7″ / Minden High School / 2019
Coach Bailey will have a task on his hands leading the Crimson Tide into the 2018-19 season. He will need senior leadership and scoring to be a heavy part of the equation. Coach will probably look no further than senior Cedric Emerson. Even though he is 5’7″, he can play both guard positions. Emerson can either get Minden into their offense or provide it. Cedric can shoot the mid-range jumper or drain the three ball. He is also the most diverse player that the Crimson Tide has because he is a good defender as well. If Emerson can provide good one the ball defense and the punch needed offensively, look for Minden to be competitive and pull a couple of surprises in 1-4A.
Isaiah Carroll / 5’10” / Northwood High School / 2019
The Northwood Falcons were actually vying for one of the last playoffs spots during last season. Then district hit. For them to make a similar run this year, they will need senior Isaiah Carroll to step up his game. Last year, Carroll was known more as a dead eye shooter. He was very consistent from the three point line. For Northwood to take the next step, especially in 1-4A, they will need Carroll to do more. Along with shooting a high percentage from three, Isaiah will need to defend at a high level. Carroll will have to lead by example early in the season and hope that his teammates will pick up their game during district. If Carroll can do that, and have a couple of teammates to follow his lead, a 1-4A playoff spot may not be totally out of their grasp.
Cason Dunlap / 6’5″ / BTW High School (Shreveport) / 2020
For the last couple of years Booker T. has gotten most of their production from the perimeter. If the Lions are going to challenge the likes of Bossier and Woodlawn in the district, they are going to have to lean on the production of Cason Dunlap. Dunlap is BTW’s main threat in the paint. He can score from the mid-range but does most of his damage around the basket. Dunlap is rangy and can get off the floor quickly. Even though he is not bulky, he can rebound with the best of them. Look for Dunlap to stay active on the boards and cause trouble for the players guarding him. If he can score and defend at a high level, Booker T. may in fact challenge the one of the top spots in the district.
Dylan Slaid / 5’8″ / Benton High School / 2021
Last season the Benton Tigers nearly made the playoffs with great point guard play from Jalen Harding. If this year’s version is to make a run at the 4A playoffs under new coach Todd Martinez, guard play will again be essential. The guard that needs to shoulder that load is Dylan Slaid. The slightly built Slaid has a lefty three point shot and a nice handle to go with it. Slaid has the ability to play the point and off the ball with equal effectiveness. His jump shooting is really his best attribute. When he is hitting his jumper, it allows him to drive past defenders who play him more closely. On the defensive end, he does not mind getting into a guards personal space and trying to make them feel uncomfortable. With the guards that he will face in 1-4A, Slaid will need to negate their production. If he plays top notch offense and defense, Slaid will help lead Benton to a playoff birth in 18-19.
Dejarious Jackson / 6’3″ / Huntington High School / 2019
Huntington had an up and down 2017-18. As a result, they were never quite a threat to Bossier and Woodlawn in 1-4A. If they are to compete this year, they will need the play of Dejarious Jackson to reach new heights. Jackson is their best perimeter threat from deep. He has a jumper that is one more times than its off. To go along with that jumper, he has the ability to beat his defenders with the bounce. At 6’3″ and using those two traits, he can dominate offensively at times. What Huntington needs, along with Jackson’s offense, is his senior leadership. With Jackson operating at the top of his abilities, Huntington can challenge Woodlawn, and possibly Bossier, for the top spot in the district.
Kenny Hunter / 6’8″ / Huntington High School / 2020
Huntington may need Dejarious Jackson to win district. To compete for a state title, they will need dominance on both ends of the floor by their junior postman. Kenny Hunter had a decent sophomore season. His junior season needs to be dominant. He can dominate on the defensive end with his shot blocking and shot changing defense. It is on the offensive end that he needs to be just as intimidating. Offensive rebounding is one of his best attributes. Mixing his rebounding with a consistent mid-range jumper with give Hunter enough weapons to be an offensive force. If Hunter can control both ends of the floor with his play, Huntington may reach heights they have not seen since the latter part of the last decade.
Tramichael “T-Mike” Moton / 6’1″ / Woodlawn High School (Shreveport) / 2019 (pictured above)
Some readers may wonder why is a two time all state second team performer a player to watch in 1-4A. Well, the reason is this player has never been in the position he is in now. T-Mike has always been the younger member playing with a cast of good players since his 8th grade season at Huntington. Now, as a senior at Woodlawn, Moton is the unquestioned leader of the team. Along with managing the team as a point guard, he will also need to be the vocal leader and main scoring threat on the floor. In June, he showed flashes of being able to do just that. From those flashes came offers from Grambling and the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff. If he continues to show the growth and maturity he displayed then, along with leading his team to another deep playoff run, more college offers to play point will probably come his way.
Xavien Beasley / 6’3″ / Bossier High School / 2019
One of the most anticipated returns to high school basketball is Xavien Beasley suiting up for the Bossier Bearkats. The last time Beasley played a game was with the former Fair Park high school in 2016-2017. He is returning to play on a district-winning team that only lost one player. To be honest, he may be the biggest difference maker for Bossier this season. When he played prior to missing time, he was a slasher that constantly put pressure on the defense with his driving ability. This version of Xavien Beasley has a more mature body and is active on the offensive and defensive boards. The more he played in the month of June you could see his slashing ability returning and his offensive game growing in consistency. If this version of Xavien Beasley contributes offensively, with the firepower that Bossier returns, they may be the best team in 4A bar none.
These players have the ability to stand out in any district. Being that they are in 1-4A, they will face some of the best competition night after night from one another. Look for these difference makers to make a large contribution to their perspective teams and to make their district one of the toughest in the state.