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Athlete Spotlight for Wednesday, December 24, 2014.

Posted: December 24, 2014 - 12:08am
Photo by Jim Blaylock  Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock

If the stats were for another person, Harlem High School’s Torien Beard knows what he would think of that player.

“He’s an all-around player,” said Beard. “He can score and also rebound and make passes – an all-around player.”

And that is exactly what Beard is. While the team is off to a 12-1/11-2 start, Beard averages 13.4 points-per-game, 8.3 rebounds, 5 assists, 2.4 steals and 2.1 blocked-shots-a-game.

Harlem coach Kim Chambers, who teases him good-naturedly because he leads the team in fouls, saw his breakout year coming.

“I saw him this summer and all of a sudden he was just jumping out of the gym, you could tell he was a lot more confident and you could tell he was becoming the player we always thought he could be,” Chambers said.

And the stats back up the notion of what kind of player he wants to be.

“I want to be a better team player,” Beard said. “I’m not really selfish, I want to get my teammates involved because one person can’t be a team.”

Having teammates on the perimeter knocking down shots makes things easier all around.

“It does because teams are going to mostly focus on Reggie and me driving, but if we have three-point-shooters and they’re making them, you can’t really focus on one player so they have to play us straight up,” he said laughing.

While playing at guard/forward for the Bulldogs, Beard, who thinks his athleticism and play-making is the strongest part of his game, has worked on other areas to make himself even tougher to defend.
“I try to work on my jumper as much as I can,” said Beard. “It’s just something different to throw at them. If they always know I’m going to drive, drive, drive, they will just play you a certain way. But if you can drive and shoot, then they have to change up their whole game plan on you.”

Beard lived in Augusta and moved to the Harlem area in sixth grade. Building to what he has become has been a process while working his way up the ladder.

“I played as a freshman but I played both ways, I was on JV and varsity.” Beard said. “I got the whole JV experience of it and I got a little bit of varsity to get me ready for things.”

Beard said he has been playing since he was young, influenced by stories of basketball his dad used to tell, and he hopes to continue to play when his time at Harlem is done.

“I would like to go play college basketball,” Beard said. “I’m trying my hardest right now to make that happen. Hopefully soon I can get something accomplished.”

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