Speights, Sturdivant: Player of the Year

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 18, 2004

Repeatedly throughout the 2003/2004-basketball season there were two West Alabama high school athletes who’s names continued to pop up in almost every discussion regarding high school basketball – Sumter County’s Reaynundo Sturdivant and Livingston’s Corey Speights.

And on Wednesday it was no surprise to see both Strudivant and Speights walk away from the 2003/2004 Alabama Sports Writers Association Player of the Year Awards as winners of the 3A AHSAA Player of the Year and the 4A AHSAA Player of the Year.

Speights, a 6-foor-2 senior led the 21-13 Livingston High School Cougars this season averaging 22 points and six rebounds per game. The 4A 2002/2003 defending state champion Cougars started the season at 0-5 without there three-year starter at the point guard position, who was out with a wrist injury he sustained during the 2003 football season. Speights returned to the lineup in late December and led the young Cougars back to Birmingham for their second consecutive appearance in the AHSAA state finals.

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Cougars head coach Kenneth Threadgill said that his team would not have made it back to Birmingham without the leadership of Speights.

Speights is regarded by many as one of the best point guards in the state of Alabama, he has unmatched ball handling skills on the court along with enough height and strength to play a variety of positions. His ability to penetrate the basket and draw the foul is unlike any other on the court today.

This season, Speights was named to the Class 4A Area 8 All-Area Team, was MVP at the Class 4A Southwest Regional tournament, where he scored a game high 33 points against the Choctaw County Tigers in the region championship game, and was also named to the State Finals All-Tournament Team. Speights, with 94-total votes beat out both Quinn Beckwith of Deshler High School (90 votes) and Lardarius Webb of Beauregard High School (86 votes) for the ASWA Player of the Year award.

Sturdivant, a 6-foot-2 senior guard led the 31-2 Sumter County Wildcats this season to their first 3A state championship under head coach Johnny Patrick averaging 21.8 points, 9.3 rebounds, 5.7 assist and 3.4 steals per game. In his last game as a Wildcat, Sturdivant scored an impressive 20 points against the Montgomery Academy Eagles in the Class 3A state championship earning him the AHSAA State Finals MVP award. Sturdivant, like Speights has impressive size and strength on the court and can play at almost any position.

He is a very quick guard who is also extremely aggressive under the boards.

Sturdivant, with 168-total votes beat out both Jacob McKissack of Lauderdale County High School (82 votes) and Robert Mooty of Montgomery Academy (80 votes) for the ASWA Player of the Year award.