Barksdale Looking to Lead as a Senior

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Tony Barksdale has been one of the top scorers in Topeka the last two seasons.

Heading into his senior year at Shawnee Heights, he wants to be more of a leader with three starters graduating–Jovan Barksdale, Tevin Downing, and Braeson Sester.

“My goal is to get better, not only that, but create a family,” Barksdale said. “Make sure everybody is willing to put in work, do things above our goals and grind every day to make it to that championship game.”

Barksdale, a 5-foot-10, 185-pound guard, averaged 9.9 points in 20 games for the guard-heavy Thunderbirds this past season helping the team to a 16-6 record. He scored a season-high 26 points against Topeka West on Dec. 20, 2013.

As a sophomore, he averaged 15 points a game, which included a 36-point outburst. Although his scoring average was down, he still played a vital role in the team’s seven-win improvement.

“You know although scoring wasn’t really an option for me I thought of my team we had so many players that were outstanding in what they do,” Barksdale said. “Like Tez (Scroggins) a wonderful dribbler, Jovan an excellent scorer period, Tevin makes plays when needed, and Braeson good game-closer and clutch.”

Barksdale had different roles throughout the season—sometimes as a starter and sometimes as a scorer off the bench. Regardless of his role, he took it in stride.

“It’s really a matter of the team,” he said. “I thought when I started it was more like here we go let’s see how this game goes, but on the bench it was more of let’s go we didn’t practice this hard to lose. Coach always told me to be ready and when it was my time I made everybody on the court excited.”

Barksdale has been successful on the basketball court and Nebraska-Omaha has expressed interest, but football is his primary sport. He was an all-city running back this past season rushing for 710 yards and 12 touchdowns and catching 19 passes for 188 yards.

“Basketball is my second option,” he said. “I want to be a successful football player in college and hopefully move on to a higher level in the NFL.”

He is playing summer basketball with Top City.

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