Talladega’s dynamic duo of Ashton Duncan and Fred Dickerson have accomplished a lot in three years on varsity basketball team. The senior guard tandem played a major role in leading the Tigers to back-to-back Final Four appearances. This is the first time in school history Talladega has made the Final Four in consecutive years.
They also made history on the gridiron as they led the football team to the playoffs for the first time in over 23 years. Duncan said one thing has been the key to their success.
“Heart,” he said. “We have more heart than anybody. We look at our opponents like they lace up their shoes just like we do. We go out there and compete with more heart than anybody else on the court.”
Dickerson said making it back to Birmingham is something they have been working toward since the beginning of the season.
“It feels good to be in the Final Four again,” Dickerson said. “It’s a big accomplishment; this is the second year in a row that we’re going to Birmingham. We had to push to get there. We had to stay after practice and put up more shots to get there. We never gave up and we always said that we’re going to get back there.”
Accomplishing these feats together makes it even more special for the duo.
Duncan and Dickerson’s bond goes deeper than the playing field. They have known each other for 13 years and they have been close from the beginning.
“That’s not my friend, that’s my brother,” Duncan said. “I’ve been knowing Fred since I was 5. He stayed with me for a couple of years and that just made us closer. With us being in the same household, it brought us together more. It’s a brotherhood.”
Duncan and Dickerson are having a stellar season for the Tigers. Duncan averaged 16.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 3.4 steals per game. Dickerson averages 16.1 points, 5.2 assist, 4 steals and 3.5 rebounds per game for Talladega.
“They are kind of interchangeable on offense,” Talladega head coach Chucky Miller said. “The last couple of years we have gone to a combo offense where everybody has to play multiple positions. I think that is the way basketball is changing now. You just can’t get tied in to being a point guard. You can be a point guard, you are also a shooting guard some or a three-man. All of our guards are capable of playing the point, off guard, or playing down inside. Sometime your offense is going to be off, but they play defense the whole time. We play multiple presses when needed; we can do it all. Our guards are the backbone of our team.”
Miller lauds the way Dickerson and Duncan hustle and give 100 percent every second they’re on the court. He said their hustle plays were the difference in their 75-70 win over Etowah.
“That was totally the difference in the game the other night, because Etowah was playing lights out,” Miller said. “They didn’t have such a good record for anything. When we took the court, you just see the difference in size, so that is why we had to get the loose balls. We had to get the tips and go get the ball to create some easy shots.”