Dunbar G Kenneth Beckham returns to court, eyes college attention

After each Dunbar football practice the last two weeks, defensive back Kenneth Beckham would take the 15-minute bus ride from the team’s practice headquarters at Spingarn back to the school in Northwest, and once he arrived, he knew more work awaited. While his teammates went home, Beckham went to the school’s gym to put up 200 shots and work on ball-handling drills.

“It wasn’t hard. It was kind of a rewind of playing football in middle school,” Beckham said.

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Beckham was “hurt” after the Crimson Tide lost in Saturday’s DCIAA Stars Division football playoffs against Wilson – which unceremoniously ended his first and only year of playing high school football. On Monday, about 48 hours after the loss, he will begin his quest to become one of the city’s best basketball players – an “under-recruited” player, according to Dunbar Coach Damon Singletary.

Beckham certainly has a solid foundation. The lengthy 6-foot-1 guard averaged 18.5 points per game last season and emerged as not only one of the most offensively productive players in the DCIAA, but also one that could hit a big shot for Dunbar, which finished at 9-13 and earned a berth in the DCIAA tournament.

“In the DCIAA, I think he’s probably, behind maybe Johnnie Shuler, I think he’s definitely one of the best guards in the District of Columbia,” Singletary said. “I don’t think he’s too far from separating and being the same kid he was last year, if not better.”

Now Beckham is expecting to break out this winter. If anything, his ability to step onto the football field and contribute to one of the DCIAA’s best team’s speaks to his athletic gifts. But what football couldn’t give him in the big play (he caught two passes, and had a touchdown catch called back against Coolidge), basketball will. He shouldered a full load on the court last year, after being moved to point guard late in the season by Singletary. His offensive numbers didn’t waiver — he didn’t score less than 14 points in any game last season, and in his final nine games, he recorded 74 assists.

Singletary thinks it will take about a week for Beckham to get “back in rhythm” of playing basketball full time after three months of football. It was worth it for Beckham, and all part of the process of earning Division I basketball recruiting attention this winter. It helped him keep his grades up, and kept him conditioning every day, he said.

“I’m going to get my team ready and in shape before the season starts,” Beckham said.

NUMBER CRUNCH: 294

The number of rushing yards for Stone Bridge’s Sterling Dailey in Friday’s 55-7 win over Lee. Dailey needed just eight carries for that total, and scored three touchdowns.

BREAKFAST LINKS

— Behind sensational performances between two very different running backs, DeMatha ended a three-year WCAC title drought with a 31-10 win over St. Johns on Saturday.

— A year after being disqualified from the Turkey Bowl, Wilson is heading back to the Thanksgiving Day game after beating Dunbar in the DCIAA playoffs.

— History wasn’t on its side, but behind another big performace from quarterback Jay Adams, Gwynn Park took down Douglass in Saturday’s Maryland 2A South region playoffs.

— Kate Winesett provided the game-winning goal to lift Westfield over First Colonial in the Virginia 6A field hockey championship.

— Saturday’s Maryland 2A volleyball championship lived up to the billing, with Patuxent winning over Poolesville in a five-set thriller.

–Damascus swept La Plata in straight sets to capture the Maryland 3A volleyball championship, the school’s first title.

 PHOTOS FROM THE WEEKEND

 VIDEOS FROM THE WEEKEND

Suitland scored 24 unanswered points and won a lopsided game against C.H. Flowers, 31-7. (Nick Plum for Synthesis/Koubaroulis LLC./The Washington Post)

 

DeMatha beats St. John's, 31-10, to win the 2013 WCAC title game. (??? for Synthesis/Koubaroulis LLC./The Washington Post)

 

Roman Stubbs covers the University of Maryland athletics for The Washington Post.

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Jason Butt · November 15, 2013