Seniors leave strong legacy for Kinston boys' basketball
Kinston senior wing Judah McBynum drives the lane during the Vikings’ 78-66 loss at Farmville Central Saturday night. McBynum was one of four seniors — including B.J. Luter, Savyon Davis and Shamon Wooten — who saw their careers end in the third round of the NCHSAA 2A playoffs. Photo by William ‘Bud’ Hardy / Neuse News
When the seniors for the Kinston High School boys’ basketball team walked off the court for the final time in their prep career Saturday night in Farmville, they left with some impressive numbers.
The quartet of Vikings seniors — Judah McBynum, B.J. Luter, Savyon Davis and Shamon Wooten — helped lead Kinston to a 15th consecutive conference tournament title, a feat that is unmatched in the annals of NCHSAA history. With a final record of 24-7, they also led the Vikings to another 20-win season, the 14th straight year that’s happened at Kinston High School.
And thanks to McBynum, who’s been on the varsity squad since he was a sophomore, the Vikings had an impressive 66-20 mark (.767 winning percentage) over the past three seasons.
While Kinston coach Perry Tyndall was proud of his seniors’ prep careers, he admitted he was sad to see it end for McBynum, Luter, Davis and Wooten.
“I told them they are a big part of the legacy of Kinston basketball,” Tyndall said in the visitor’s locker room following the Vikings’ 78-66 loss at Farmville Central on Saturday. “With another 20-win season, the 15th straight conference title and everything they’ve brought to the program, they will be missed.”
The seniors said they were proud of the legacy they’ve left at Kinston.
“This team has a bright future and a lot of good, young players,” Luter said. “I know they are going to stick together and keep working hard.”
Davis agreed with Luter and pointed out the contributions of the “young’uns” such as sophomore wunderkind Dontrez Styles, junior guards Isaac Parson, Cardiaa Koonce, Chance Minott and Kymonte Roberts and freshman forward Jeremy Dixon.
“We all came together and played together as a group this year,” Davis said. “Trez and Jeremy are going to be stars one day. I love them all and I know they’re going to do well next year and beyond.”
McBynum was particularly effective over the final third of his senior campaign. Already a strong defender, the 6-foot, 4-inch wing stepped up his offensive game to become a perfect complement to Styles and Parson.
He led the team in scoring a few times over the final weeks of the season, including going for a career-high 25 points in a home win against West Craven on Feb. 8 and leading the team with 21 points in the Senior Night victory against North Lenoir on Feb. 15.
“Judah played a big role for us and came alive after Christmas,” Tyndall said. “Down the stretch, he put us on his back at times and carried us.”
McBynum refused to take sole credit for his contributions over the final weeks of the season; instead, he unselfishly gave props to his teammates and coaches.
“When adversity hit us this season, we always kept fighting,” McBynum said. “Everybody did their part, everyone played their role. This was a team effort.”
Luter was also one of the stars on the football team, which finished 12-1 and advanced to the third round of the NCHSAA 2A playoffs.
“Coming to us from the football field, he was a little beat up and it took a little time for him to get back into basketball shape,” Tyndall said. “He was always very steady for us.”
Davis was the team’s “sparkplug,” Tyndall said.
“He is the guy that everyone on our team wanted to see succeed,” Tyndall said of Davis. “What he didn’t get in minutes, he made up for it in our locker room. He made us better in ways you don’t read about or see, but he was a team-first guy.”
Wooten, who didn’t dress for Saturday’s game, transferred from South Lenoir to Kinston in the offseason.
“Shamon came to us for his senior year and had to take on a different role,” Tyndall said. “He was very, very good for us.”
The seniors all said they realize they are part of the Kinston basketball fraternity now. It’s a position of which they are proud.
“It meant a lot to me to wear the ‘K’ on my chest,” Luter said. “The ‘K’ holds a lot of weight and we knew we had to represent it well.”
McBynum said, “I always wore the ‘K” with pride. I wouldn’t wear anything else.”
Tyndall said he wishes his seniors well in their futures.
“You hate it when you lose your last game but I’m very appreciative of what they’ve done,” Tyndall said. “They meant a lot to this program, and I hope they know that.”