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Versatility holds the key for NEL's Stephen Dyess

By Staff
DRIVING IN Northeast Lauderdale multi-sport standout Stephen Dyess drives to the hoop in a recent basketball game. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Jeff Byrd/The Meridian Star
Dec. 17, 2001
Call him Mr. Versatility. Northeast Lauderdale's Stephen Dyess is the jack of all trades for coach Lewis Lightsey's Trojans.
In just 14 games this season, the 6-foot-4 senior has played all five positions at one point or another for the Trojans. That ability to go where needed has helped the Trojans get off to a 10-2 start.
Dyess had just about as many roles for the Trojans football team. He opened the season at quarterback and then moved to receiver later in the season. He was also the punter and played safety on defense.
Just don't ask Dyess which sport he would prefer.
As a football player, Dyess led Northeast to a 3-0 start which included a 44-37 win over arch-rival West Lauderdale. He scored three touchdowns in the game including a 77-yarder on an improvised scramble while in punt formation.
Northeast lost its last seven games to finish 3-7.
Trojan basketball has been better. They've beaten West two-out-of-three times, including last week's marathon three-overtime 98-95 thriller.
As the Trojans' defensive stopper, Dyess has gotten up close to many of the area's top players.
But the most difficult team has been Neshoba Central.
Being able to defend, though, has come natural to Dyess. The process began when he joined the Trojan varsity four years ago. His primary practice duty was to provide a body for Trojan star and current Meridian Community College guard Robert Ivy to work against.
The stats are reflective of an overall player. Dyess averages about nine points, six rebounds and five assists a game.
Next up for the Trojans will be the Jackson Public Schools Tournament which begins Dec. 26 at various high school gyms in the Jackson area.
Jeff Byrd is a sports writer for the Meridian Star. He can be reached at 693-1551 or by e-mail at jbyrd@themeridianstar.