The All-Star statistics that Greenville High School basketball standout Clarkaju Warren has put up this season for the undefeated Honeybees (18-0) do not tell the whole story about what Warren means to her team.
Warren’s 15.5 points and seven rebounds per game reveal she is really good; however, when you watch her play you quickly see the other qualities she brings to her team, unique traits like court awareness, determination, passion, mental toughness and leadership.
The Greenville coaches and players say they would not be nearly as successful without Warren.
“She’s our engine,” Greenville coach Dakedreon Lampkin said during practice on Monday. “She is what makes us go. Just like a car cannot go without an engine. We can’t go without her.”
Warren (whose first name is pronounced Clar KAY Jah) has gotten better and better each season playing under Lampkin. She credits her coach for helping make her the best she can be.
“When I first started playing in the seventh grade I was not very good,” Warren said. “I was traveling and double dribbling all the time. It is not until I met Coach Lampkin in the ninth grade that I realized I could be a good player. His coaching has been the best thing that could have happened for me.”
This season Warren is a six-foot-one-inch post presence that can make a huge difference on both sides of the court. She said her first job is to get rebounds, which she grabs in bunches, but Warren’s motor is so strong she seems to be just about everywhere needed on the court.
Her head coach said she is not only talented, but also one of the smartest players he has ever coached.
“Her basketball IQ is incredible. I have been coaching since 2004, and she is definitely in my Top 3 highest IQ players I have ever coached,” Lampkin said. “She is my coach on the floor.”
While Warren may be the key leader on this year’s team, the Honeybees also possess many other talented players needed for a team which seeks such high goals. Players like sophomore Jakayla Williams, senior Mary Starnes, junior Jeanee Anderson and junior Lazericka Rhodes have also been shining for the Honeybees. When one of them has an off night, these players seem to always be picked up by one of their teammates,
Last season, the Honeybees made it all the way to the state semifinals. This season players like Warren believe they can win the big trophy at the end.
“We are doing fantastic this season, and everything seems to be going so much better. Our defense and communication are a lot stronger,” Warren said. “We worked hard to be this good. This summer we missed reunions and weddings so we could be together and get better. Our goal is to win the championship. We have worked hard for it, and we believe we can do it.”
The Honeybees were scheduled to play at Provine Tuesday night and are set to host Clinton High School on Friday.