Cruising through the regular season, putting up point totals normally seen in video games, the Weaver standout nearly had his season end in mid-January in the Calhoun County championship game against Oxford. Landing awkwardly on his left hand, English broke it. He suffered the same injury during football season.
“It’s been a tough year for Chris as far as injuries go,” Bearcats coach Daryl Hamby said. “He’s had to grow up and learn a lot with all of the injuries that have happened, and it’s just part of the game. I think what happened in football helped him in basketball. He fought through it, worked through it and I tell him that that’s just like life.
“Life is going to knock you down sometimes. Don’t whine about it, get up and get through it.”
And that’s exactly what English did, as he put together a season worthy of being The Anniston Star’s Class 3A Calhoun County boys basketball player of the year.
He stayed in the championship game, not knowing the extent of the injury, and finished with 19 points. After missing two weeks with a cast on his left wrist, he was back at it again.
English broke back onto the scene with 30 points, nine steals and seven rebounds against White Plains in the first round of the Class 3A, Area 10 championship, winning 61-54.
“He’s a great competitor and doesn’t like to lose,” Hamby said. “That’s a key toward being a winner. He handles the pressure well. He’s made a lot of big shots and has done everything I could ask for in a kid.”
The first-round win was just another example of what English is capable of while on the court.
He put up ridiculous numbers all season, averaging 23.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.4 steals a game. That made him the top scorer in the local area.
His totals landed him on the all-state second team for the second straight year as Weaver advanced to the Northeast Regional for the first time since 2008.
And yet, English said he’s only going to get better.
“I’m just not going to settle for anything less,” he said. “Every weekend I go to Hunstville for AAU and I have drills with a trainer, so that gets me better.”
Already a four-year starter, English has made improvements on the court that can be attributed mostly to maturity.
“I don’t take dumb shots anymore,” he said. “I started driving rather than settling for jump shots. I just watched film from last year and noticed mistakes I made.”
Driving to the basket and finishing plays helped earn English an invitation to the North-South All-State game in July, which he noted was one of his goals. Colleges have also started to notice the play of the Weaver basketball player. He has received interest from Gadsden State, Alabama-Huntsville and Jacksonville State.
“If he keeps maturing and doing what he’s doing, he’s going to be fine,” Hamby said.
Sports Writer Brandon Miller: 256-235-3575. On Twitter @bmiller_star.