By Ethan Smith, exclusive to the Times
Lakeview senior Christopher Small Jr., known to most as CJ, signed his letter of intent to play for Centenary College’s men’s basketball team Tuesday, May 14. Centenary, located in Shreveport, was Small’s first choice for many reasons. With Centenary being so close to his hometown of Clarence, he enjoys the fact that his friends and family can see him play the game that he loves and developed a passion for while being a gator. Another factor in his decision was that the Gents “..play his style of ball, up-tempo.” It’s one thing to be able to continue to play the game you love, but Small will continue to thrive in the system that his Head Coach Brian Williams made second-nature for him.
Williams is just as excited as Small for his collegiate choice. According to Williams, “Centenary has a great small school basketball program that is perfect for CJ, but the academics are second-to-none in the state and he will get an even better education.” Williams described Small as a “…gritty, hardworking, floor general. A team first leader. Someone who is determined to get beat not once in a game. They are getting 110 percent from him on every possession.”
Williams couldn’t give enough praise of how much of a great young leader and an even better young man that Small has become. Small joins the list of collegiate signees from Lakeview in recent years. Starting in 2014 with Travion Kirkendoll (Centenary), 2015- Malik Metoyer (Northwestern St.), Tivonte Hardy (San Jacinto), Brent Toussaint (John Brown Univ.), 2016- Adrio Bailey (Univ. of Arkansas), Cameron Pottain (Lawson State), 2017- Russell Watkins (Louisiana College), 2018- Demondre Young (Jarvis Christian College), and Small, the newest Centenary Gentleman. Small made his senior year a great one, leading the Gators to a 32-7 record, Co-District 3-2A Champs, the fifth seed in the 2A playoffs, where the Gators made it to the third round. Small was also a member of the District 3-2A All-District Honorable Mention Team. Small averaged 8.2 points per game, 4.4 rebounds per game and 1.5 steals per game.
But again, his biggest strength isn’t a statistic, but the immeasurable leadership he brings to his team. It was a great day for the Small family, a great day for Lakeview, and the start of a great life for Christopher Small Jr.