By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Lykel Collier is the consummate team player. Last season as a sophomore the Bluefield Beavers junior averaged more than 18 points a game and had more than 300 assists. This season Collier is on a pace to equal those marks, but individual accolades do not fuel the Beavers’ point guard.
Nevertheless, Collier, who scored 33 points, dished out 12 assists, grabbed four rebounds and had nine steals in a pair of Bluefield victories is the Bluefield Daily Telegraph/Pocahontas Coal Association Player of the Week for the period Jan. 2-5. And by the way, Collier is the reigning BDT/PCA Player of the Year.
“He is one of a kind. He’s a very enjoyable young man to coach,” said Beavers head coach Buster Large. “He is always positive. I’ve never heard him say anything negative the three years that I’ve had him. He always wants his teammates to do well. He wants to better himself not only on the basketball court, but educationally too. That’s a sign of a very good student athlete.”
Collier, a starter for the Beavers since his freshman year, said that he has matured and better understands the game he so loves.
“I’m just letting the offense come to me, not forcing it, just playing within the offense and getting good shots,” Collier said. “Our bigs played well in those games (River View and Oak Hill) so they were getting a lot of double-teams, so they kicked out, I had wide open shots and I hit them in those games.”
Collier reflected on his early days in a Bluefield uniform.
“My freshman year I was inconsistent. I used to go to the basket, I would never shoot a jump shot,” Collier commented. “I have progressed. Through my sophomore year I was shooting a little bit more and now in my junior year I’ll go to the basket and I can hit the jump shot, so defenders have got to be more honest on me.”
Collier said that without the play of his teammates, he would not be successful on the court. Some of those teammates have been together for years.
“Anthony (Eades) and Michael (Yost) started off on JV their freshman year, then they jumped up to the varsity and helped a lot last year. D.J. (Edwards), he didn’t play our freshman year, he played our sophomore year, came off the bench and helped us. Now he’s stronger, he’s finishing around the basket,” Collier said. “With the addition of Corey (Coppola) and Matthew (Woodrum) and everybody else on the team, they are helping me a lot this year.”
Last season a young Bluefield Beavers team starting three sophomores and two seniors advanced to the West Virginia Class AA championship game where they fell to Tug Valley. Tug Valley dropped to Class A when West Virginia schools were realigned at the beginning of this school year, thus putting a target on the Beavers.
“Every team is going to gun for us because where Tug Valley dropped down, we are the front runner,” Collier said. “We just take it one game at a time. We can’t overlook any team this year because any team is capable of beating us. We’ve got a tough schedule this year, but it’s making us better come sectional time.”
Just a junior, Collier would like to play basketball at the collegiate level, but if not he still has plans.
“I’m undecided right now, but if a basketball scholarship comes, I’m going to sit down with my family and discuss it,” Collier said. “My academics are going well too, so I could be in the running for Promise Scholarship. I’m going to major in business, I do know that.”
On the court Collier also has a dream.
“Our ultimate goal is to get back to where we were last year. Our chemistry is not getting there yet, but we’re working towards it,” Collier noted. “We’re going to take it one game at a time, not overlook any opponent and try to win the section and host a regional game here.”
Next up for the Beavers is a match up at Wyoming East, Friday night, then a visit from Wheeling Park, Saturday afternoon at the Brushfork Armory.
— Contact Bob Redd at firstname.lastname@example.org
Player of the Week
Week of Jan. 2-5
Bland County - Darryl Clark 23 vs. Richlands; Asher Dillow averaged 20.5 in two games; Chase Hankins averaged 23 in two games.
Bluefield - Anthony Eades 35 points, 2 assists, 5 steals, 1 block in 2 games; Michael Yost 21 points, 2 assists, 10 rebounds, 7 steals, 2 blocks in 2 games.
Graham - Spencer Sheets 19 points vs. Galax.
Montcalm - Darius Brodesser 26 points in two games.
Mount View - Paco Bonds 22 points in 2 games; Teddy Hazzard 23 vs. Montcalm; Maurice Brown 18 vs. Patrick Henry-Roanoke.
Narrows - Gavin Givens 14 vs. Bland County.
PikeView - Jason Weitzel and Logan McKinney 13 apiece vs. Shady Spring.
Princeton - Ryan Meadows 71 points in 3 games; Aaron Ferguson 37 in three games.
River View - Tyree Baker 24 vs. Bluefield.
Summers County - Ta’Ron Ayers 34 vs. James Monroe; T.J. Smith 26 vs. James Monroe.
Week 1 - Asher Dillow, Bland County
Week 2 - Noah Walker, Tazewell
Week 3 - Ryan Meadows, Princeton
Week 4 - Tony Hood, Graham