What could’ve been a breaking point became a boiling point for the 6-foot-2, 170-pounder, who’s been chosen as The Star’s 2011 Area Boys Basketball Player of the Year. It rekindled Truss’ fire on the court during his two-year varsity career. During his senior season, Truss averaged 17.6 points and 8.1 rebounds while leading the Tigers to a 24-5 record.
“I felt like I’d let my teammates down,” Truss said. “That was my year. I was just getting the feel of the game. When I came back I had the motto, ‘One Team, One Dream.’... I was hungry. I was ready to eat.”
Joining Truss on the first-team all-area squad are Munford’s Brandon Graham and Deonta Allen, Cleburne County’s Rocky Hayes and Handley’s Tevin Cook.
Munford’s Isaiah Gaddis is The Star’s Area Coach of the Year.
Truss, an honorable mention to the Alabama Sports Writers Association Class 5A all-state basketball team, said his rehab was not only physical — spending time in the gym to strengthen his right knee and doing machine work to restore his vertical leap — it was also academic.
“My mom always told me when I was in the eighth-grade, ‘Don’t go into the ninth-grade playing.’ I came in playing and got behind in some classes. I’ve got work to do. I’m trying to get myself back on track.”
Truss said he’s hopeful about passing the graduation exam. If he can, he said he’s already received interest from Hill College, a Hillsboro, Texas, junior college.
“I don’t want to be the guy with all the talent that never did anything with it,” he said.
And what a talent he is.
He went for a double-double, scoring 22 points and pulling down 12 rebounds in the Tigers’ season-ending 83-76 loss to Russell County while matched up against Alabama commit Rodney Cooper.
It was a game in which coach Chucky Miller said he thought the Tigers would’ve won had Truss not fouled out with four minutes remaining.
“He had a great year,” Miller said. “He played all positions. He’s a good 3-point shooter and he can get inside with his jumping ability. He played wherever we needed him.”
Miller said at least once or twice a game Truss would make a play that only he was capable of making.
In separate interviews, Miller and Truss pointed to the same play.
Forced to inbound the ball while up by one point against Childersburg, Talladega was trying to avoid allowing Childersburg to foul whoever caught the pass, a seeming impossibility.
Tigers center Stedman Scott threw a pass the length of the floor.
In one motion, Truss caught the pass in mid-air, contorted his body and converted a scoop lay-up.
“It was just something that came during the game. It just happened,” Truss said.
Truss increased his profile in the off-season, playing on the AAU circuit with the Birmingham Ice, the same club that produced former Kentucky star and NBA rookie Eric Bledsoe.
“He’s just a well-rounded player,” Miller said. “He’s got a lot of God-given ability. You never have to worry about his effort. He comes to play every night. If he keeps working and getting everything together, his time will come.”
Nick Birdsong covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575. Follow him on Twitter @birds_word.