PREP NOTEBOOK: Stampede’s Currington strives to improve as player, leader


Paul W. Bryant High School’s James Currington (5) looks to make a pass in a recent game against the Holt Ironmen. (Photo by Erin Nelson)


After a Monday night basketball game, Paul W. Bryant High School senior James Currington III stayed late to work on his free-throw technique.

Currington didn’t cost his team a win at the foul line. In fact, he scored 11 points and came up with five steals in an 87-53 rout of Fairfield. But it was his willingness to do a little extra that demonstrated his dedication to the game.

"I was just trying to get better and increase my free-throw average," Currington said.

Currington, who stands 6-foot-6, doesn’t have to be the leading scorer for the Stampede to be successful. However, his contributions consistently show up in the categories of rebounding, steals, assists or blocked shots.

"I try to lead the team as much as I can — assists, blocks, rebounds and then score," he said. "I work on my moves out of the gym. I work in the weight room.

"I love the hook shot. That’s my favorite shot. I just go straight up over them. That’s how I like to start a game and get my first point. I can shoot it down inside or pass it out to a shooter. It feels good to get my team in the game and keep them pumped up."

In the win over Fairfield, David Freeman came off the bench to hit five 3-pointers and score 15 points. Dexter Hood, a guard who likes to drive to the hoop, had 11 points. Tony Whitehead, an athletic forward, had 11 points, and guard Kevin Holland had nine.

"We’ve got a whole bunch of different weapons," Currington said. "Everybody contributes on the team. Nobody’s over anybody else. We’re all on the same page. We’ve got good chemistry. We’ve got outside shooters, slashers, rebounders, shot blockers, all that. We’ve got people who play lock-down defense. I love playing defense.

"I love my team. Everybody brings something to the table."

Currington practiced his foul shots under the watchful eye of his father, James Currington Jr., an assistant coach on the Paul W. Bryant staff. Shon Peck-Love is the Stampede’s head coach. Peck-Love graduated from Central in 1990 and went on to play for the University of Alabama.

The younger Currington said he’s watched tapes of his head coach. Peck-Love, who stands 6-4, had a similar style. He could score, but he contributed in other areas.

"We’ve got about the same game," Currington said. "I’ve studied it, watched film on his game. He was a good ballplayer.

"He taught me about leadership, character, making moves in practice, shots and defense too. We do a lot of defensive drills in practice."

Currington also receives coaching at home from his father.

"It helps me," Currington said. "It motivates me. He keeps me in the gym and tells me what I’m doing wrong and what I need to start doing during the game."

Peck-Love admitted that Currington is "a better defender than I was and a better shooter than I was."

"He’s a great asset to our team and does so many different things," Peck-Love said. "Most of the time we don’t have to run any offensive sets for him. He’s constantly moving. He’s one of those go-getters. He can go get it himself. He can go get the rebound. What I like most about him is he’s an excellent defensive player. He never stops moving on the defensive end. I think he’s just an all-around athlete. He has a knack for the game. He grew up around basketball. I know his dad played a little ball.

"He doesn’t care how many points he scores or how many rebounds he gets. I think he just wants to win. His teammates really love him, and they enjoy being around him. He’s the ultimate team player. "

Paul W. Bryant, ranked No. 2 in Class 5A, improved to 21-3 with the win over Fairfield. The Stampede will play at home today against Greene County and Friday against Central.

Central senior honored

Toborsha Holley, a senior guard on the Central High School girls basketball team, was surprised and delighted during Tuesday’s game against Brookwood.

Holley received a plaque for scoring more than 1,000 points in her career. She joined the Central varsity as a freshman and played two seasons for Jim Holland, who is now coaching at Holy Spirit. Michael Rivers took over as Central’s coach last season. Rivers said Holley’s total stands at 1,210 points. She had eight points in the win over Brookwood, but she admitted that she wasn’t keeping track of her career total.

"They sprung it on my during halftime," she said. "I was surprised because going through the game as an all-around player I’m not counting my points. I just know that being able to convert my points over to 1,000 was a great accomplishment for me. I was real happy about it. I want to thank my coaches for giving me the award and for my points.

"It really motivates me to do more, to do better. I’m going to try harder when it comes down to scoring."

Rivers said Holley is a team captain.

"She’s actually our go-to player offensively," Rivers said. "We look to her if we need a 3 or a 2, and she’s our best free-throw shooter."

Tennyson takes over at TCHS

Aaron Tennyson, 31, is the new head baseball coach at Tuscaloosa County High School. Tennyson graduated from Holt in 1999. He played baseball and football at Holt and went on to play baseball at Shelton State Community College and the University of Alabama.

Tennyson, who replaced Brian Aaron, coached last season at Collins-Riverside Middle School.

Tennyson said he’s excited about the prospect of coaching a team with 10 seniors.

"We’ve got several guys that are going to have an opportunity to sign a college scholarship," Tennyson said.

"That’s one of the goals we’re going to have. I feel like we’re coming into a good group of guys. They know how to play the game hard, and that’s very important."

Tennyson, who was a leadoff hitter, said he favors "small ball" with bunts, steals and the hit-and-run.

"I like to see guys move," Tennyson said. "I like to put the other team in situations to make plays. My goal is to make the routine plays and play as hard as we can for as long as it takes to win a ballgame. Throughout practice I like to put the kids in pressure situations. When they get in a ballgame, they’re going to have a better opportunity to be successful in those situations.

"These guys like to work hard, and they want to be here every day. That helps as a coach when you’ve got guys that want to be here. They love being around each other, and they enjoy the game of baseball. The like playing a baseball game the right way."

Tennyson said the total program will include a sophomore team and a freshman team with about 47 total players. His brother, Adam, will be the Wildcats’ pitching coach.

"We’re going to start building these guys, hopefully, as ninth-graders when they come in to be able to win and be successful when they become juniors and seniors," Aaron Tennyson said.

 

Reach Andrew Carroll at andrew.carroll@tuscaloosanews.com or at 205-722-0223.