Stallworth steps up game at University of Alabama camp
One of America’s greatest inventors, Henry Ford, is often credited for saying “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
And though many high school basketball teams would be happy duplicating the success of Georgiana High School’s 2015-2016 season—in which the Panthers ended the landmark season as the Class 1A state runners-up—but at least one Panther is gunning for more.
Jamichael Stallworth, who will be a junior in the fall, is already lacing up for November, and the shooting guard recently attended an elite basketball camp at the University of Alabama to hone a few skills.
“Coach Avery Johnson was teaching the fundamentals of the game of basketball,” Stallworth said.
“He taught us a lot, and the things he taught us will be helpful in the future.”
Stallworth said he was able to attend the camp, thanks to some assistance from Georgiana head basketball coach Kirk Norris. According to Stallworth, the open-invite camp proved a key way to develop his individual skills alongside the summer practices that the Panthers participate in as a team.
And being able to receive instruction from the “Little General,” Avery Johnson, who spent 16 years in the NBA and led the Mavericks to three consecutive 50+ win seasons and their first NBA finals, was a nice bonus.
“He told us he helped Dirk [Nowitzki] produce his favorite move,” Stallworth added.
“Basically everything he taught us was useful to me, from defense to offense. Defense was especially useful because I need to work on my defense more, and he showed us useful things such as sliding your feet without crossing them and transition defense such as getting back on the fast break.”
The Panthers’ defense was nigh-impregnable for the majority of the 2015-2016 season until Georgiana squared off with the impressive Sacred Heart Catholic Cardinals, who flew off with a 95-75 win in the championship round.
Stallworth finished the night with 18 points but, despite his solid performance, it’s a night that remains firmly in the back of his mind.
“I always think about that because it just makes me want to work even harder,” Stallworth said. “They were very skilled players like we were. I guess they fought harder and ended up with the victory.
“If I do the same thing I did last year, the same outcome will happen. And I’m not trying to be feeling like I did after the game; I want to feel like a state champion.”
This year’s Panthers team will take a large hit in losing players such as Jacquez Payton, Richard Boggan, Demarcus Rich, Dequan Crenshaw and a few other key roleplayers.
Now, several eyes will look toward Stallworth for leadership, and the burden is one that he aims to bear.
Fortunately, the junior already has plenty of experience on and off the court as a veteran member of the varsity squad, as well as the starting quarterback of the Panthers’ football team.
For him, it comes with the territory of success.
“It feels like heavy weight sometimes, but being a leader is kind of hard because you have to show everyone you can be a leader so they can trust you,” Stallworth said.
“This offseason, I have been working on being a leader, so it shouldn’t be hard during the season.”