Eagles turn to Dowdell for leadership

It’s been said that homecomings can feel like a family reunion, well for Calera Eagles basketball, the family reunion is every night on the court.

“If we’re not in the gym, we’re at the park playing together,” senior guard DeMarcus Dowdell said of his cousins Deondré Haynes and Codi Walker.

The three have been playing together since Dowdell and Walker were in the seventh grade.

“It seems like we have a pipeline of good players that are related,” Calera head coach Robert Burdette said.

Dowdell credits his sister Shanavia as the starting point of the pipeline legacy.

“She’s the one who got the name started, and I’m just trying to keep it going,” Dowdell said.

The two talked Friday before Calera’s season-opening game with Pelham. The Louisiana Tech starting forward’s advice was play smart and remember “swan neck.”

“Hit pretty jumpshots,” Dowdell explained while curving his wrist as to look like a swan on his follow-through.

The swan showed its head through the night, as Dowdell scored 14 points to help lead the Eagles, while opening scoring opportunities for Haynes, who had 18 points and a pair of dunks that excited the home crowd.

While he may not be drawing, heavy attention and putting up 25 points a game like his sister, Miss Basketball 2006, did, Dowdell is still looking to carry on the name through his leadership.

“He’s played over 100 varsity games, and with that kind of experience the game is slow,” Burdette said. “DeMarcus is going to be DeMarcus. You’re going to look at the scorebook and see 14 points or so a night.”

Dowdell is glad he’s not the main guy anymore and looks to guide his younger teammates each time on the court.

“Last year, they’d come with doubles, but they can’t double me, because there’s other people that can shoot and score,” Dowdell said. “Being that we’ve got a young group, I tell them to calm down and let the game come to them.”

Dowdell says he thinks the Eagles have all the weapons needed to win a state title in Class 4A. However, Burdette says while he’s glad his players have that attitude, his young team has a long way to go — starting a freshman, two sophomores and a senior.