Love of the game fuels Blue Devil
By By Matthew Nascone
One year ago James Webster was playing for the Atmore Blue Devils' "B" team. Fast-forward to this season and Webster has averaged 17 points for the Blue Devils' varsity squad in three games since being called up. Head coach Jerome Antone said Webster is what the Devils needed.
"He is a young and talented kid," Antone said. "Once he gains experience to go along with his talent he is going to be an even better asset to our team. He has ignited us so far."
Webster dropped 18 points in the Blue Devils' 77-65 thrashing of McIntosh this year. He then proceeded to score 21 points and snag 10 steals in the Blue Devils' big 81-43 victory over rival W.S. Neal Dec. 4.
And he has done all of his damage off the bench.
"He plays better off the bench," Antone said. "He ignites us whenever he comes in the game. He has that vision to survey what is happening on the court and enter the game and exploit the other team. And that is what being in the game on the bench means."
But for Webster, the game is not about scoring points, it is about the love of the game. The young man eats, drinks and sleeps basketball. When asked what he does when he is not on the court his answer is, "I play basketball."
That kind of devotion to a sport is what Antone said is one of the best qualities Webster possesses.
"His demeanor is so great," Antone said. "He is a calm fellow and he does not get excited or riled out there. He plays the game and puts all his heart into the game. And he is the type of guy who always wants to get better and is willing to be coached."
Webster's love for coaching might be the reason he admires Michael Jordan so much. Jordan was the ultimate competitor and he always wanted to be better than he was. Webster's favorite team is the Chicago Bulls for the simple reason that Michael Jordan played there.
James has played the sport of basketball since he was 7 years old and he has played at Escambia County Middle School and now is a rising star at Escambia County High School. But coach Antone said there is one thing that could get in Webster's way.
"As long as he does not let success go to his head mentally, he should be all right," Antone said. "But I know his dad, and he won't let that happen. He has coached him for many years and he will help James keep his integrity high."
Basketball may play a part in Webster's life, but his character and drive were founded in his love for his family.
"I always love to spend time with my family and my best memories of when I was little are when me and my family would go to our family reunions," Webster said.
And those family reunions still occur today.
"We always have fun," Webster said.
James is the son of Jerome and Yolanda Webster of Atmore. He has two sisters and one brother.
And like most high school students playing sports, James wants to go to college and continue playing sports. He said he would love to get a scholarship to play for Alabama or Florida.
The dream of playing in the NBA is also one Webster holds, but he knows that is sometimes just a dream and he has a backup plan.
"I would love to be a silver engineer because I am good at math and science and that job would require a lot of hands on fixing of stuff," he said.
But if the dream to play in the NBA does not pan out, Webster knows he always has the 300 family members in attendance at the family reunions to console him and support him.