Tyler makes major impact; earns Mr. Basketball honors

Published 5:00 am Monday, April 10, 2006

MONTICELLO — Lawrence County senior forward Craig Tyler made aimpact playing the center position this season for retiring CoachBobby Lee’s Cougars.

Tyler, who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs a muscular 250 pounds,averaged 16 points and grabbed 9.3 rebounds a game for the 17-9Lawrence County boys. He also shot well from 3-point range.

For his effort, Tyler has been named Mr. Basketball and MostValuable Player on The DAILY LEADER’S 2006 All-Area Boys BasketballTeam.

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The All-Area Team, composed of players outside of LincolnCounty, was selected by the Daily Leader sports department, withinput provided by area high school and college coaches.

Joining Tyler on the dream team are Tyler Cunningham ofParklane, Marcus Tillman of Franklin County, Roteddrick Cotton andOtis Smith of McComb, Kelvin Rogers of Lawrence County and MasonWarren of Wesson.

Tillman is a repeater from last year’s team.

“I’m very flattered,” said Tyler. “I’m going to Co-Lin. I planto major in welding.”

Tyler enjoyed his senior year playing for Lee in his farewellseasons.

“We had fun this year,” stated Tyler of his Cougar teammates.”It was a good year for us. I’d like to thank Coach Lee and theLawrence County fans. Everyone who support our team.”

When asked about his best basketball traits, Tyler said it washis hustle and effort.

“Craig’s foot movement has gotten better,” said Lee. “He’sgotten to be a better ball handler. He has good hands and feet fora big man.”

Kelvin Rogers (6-5 1/2, sr.) was another forceon the Lawrence County team who finished with 8 points, 9.5rebounds and 4.2 blocked shots per game.

Kelvin has the best attitude,” said Coach Lee.”He’s very coachable and he improved a good bit on his shot.”

Tyler Cunningham (6-8, jr.) is the high jumpingcenter for the McComb Parklane Pioneers. Cunningham finished hisjunior year averaging 16 points, 15 rebounds and 3 blockedshots.

Parklane coach Ricky Gray praised Tyler Cunningham. “When youhave a shot blocker that can run the floor at our speed, it causespeople problems matching up with us. He (Tyler) jumps real high atcenter.”

Marcus Tillman (6-4, sr.) averaged 18 pointsand 8 rebounds for Chris Jordan’s Franklin County Bulldogs.Tillman, who excelled on the football field, signed a footballscholarship to play defensive end with the Ole Miss Rebels.

“Marcus flat-out hustled,” said Franklin County coach ChrisJordan. “He played big in big games for us. He’s strong and hardworking.”

Roteddrick Cotten (6-0, jr.) was one of theyoung playmakers for McComb. Cotten averaged 14.5 points, 6rebounds and collected 51 assists and 57 steals on the season.

“Roteddrick is very athletic,” said McComb coach Hilton Harrell.”He has long arms and he’s a great leaper. He’s a slasher.”

Otis Smith (6-3, jr.) averaged 15.5 points, 7.5rebounds per game with 42 assists and 55 steals in 27 games forMcComb.

Otis has a great attitude and work ethic,”said Harrell. “He has ability to shoot the ball beyond the arc. Heis a good student, too.”

Mason Warren (5-8, sr.) averaged 14.7 points,3.9 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists pregame for Wesson.

Wesson basketball coach Ron Kessler talked about Warren. ” Hewas a pleasure to coach, one of our hardest workers. He always goes110 percent from offense to defense. He is in the right spot at theright time. He is a hustler.”

Honorable Mention

Copiah Academy – Jake Guess, Will Ervin.

Crystal Springs – Taurio Adams, Alpha Sanders,Chris Fortenberry.

Franklin County – Wesley Brown, NageeJones.

Hazlehurst – Johnny Sanders, DamienAnderson.

Lawrence County – Dominique West, LenquezSmith.

McComb – Keenum Williams, Defredick White,Chris Nazia.

North Pike – Phillip McCray.

South Pike – Brandon Duplesis, PhillipBrown.

Wesson – Brandt Hood, Phil Fortenberry.