Underrated no more
EHS’ Des Dyer starting to turn heads
It takes Kieodre Perry to talk about Des Dyer.
Before the season began, Perry, the senior leader on the Class AAAA No. 5 Eastside Eagles basketball team waxed prophetic about his teammate, Dyer.
“You’ll see,” Perry said. “He’s one of the most underrated players in Newton County.”
And Perry has been consistent with that statement, as every now and then he can be seen repeating it on his Twitter page in some form. He gets few arguments regarding the sentiment, though. In fact, Dyer himself is one of the ones who will agree with Perry the loudest.
“Yes, I feel like I’ve been underrated all my life,” Dyer said. “Because I work hard, and even when I couldn’t play I was still out on the court every day working, trying to get better.”
Although Dyer is a senior, this season at Eastside is his first playing on the varsity level. The Newton transfer came over after his sophomore year and paid his dues as a key member on the Eagles’ junior varsity squad as a junior. Georgia High School Association red tape prevented Dyer from joining the varsity last year. But it didn’t keep him from catching the eye of his Eastside coaches.
“It’s one of those things where, last year, because of rules and everything else, moving out of his grandfather’s house and GHSA issues, he couldn’t play,” said Eastside boys coach Brent Wren. “But he went through it all like a champ. He got on the JV team, took those JV minutes and didn’t pout about it. He worked hard in the summer, in the weight room, in the gym. He was with coach Gilstrap, working on footing and shooting, just everything. And it’s paying off for him.”
Paying off, indeed. Dyer is averaging close to 18 points and over 12 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-2, 170 pounder plays bigger than he is, often drawing defensive assignments against the opposing team’s post players. His rebounding acumen has been huge for a team that lost size when 6-foot-10 senior Jesse Walden went down with a high ankle sprain.
But he’s also gaining confidence in his slashing and penetrating game. He likes to run the floor, as evidenced by a thunderous one-handed dunk he threw down this past Wednesday against Newton on a fast break. And he’s definitely not afraid to step far back behind the three-point arc to shoot.
“Oh, I have a lot of confidence in my shot,” said Dyer who scored 10 points in Friday’s 76-66 region win over Druid Hills. “I can shoot it. These last two games I haven’t been hittin’ though.”
Then he paused before dropping a gem of confidence.
“(Druid Hills) got lucky that I wasn’t hittin’ tonight,” he added. “I got very frustrated.”
Part of that frustration can be attributed to Dyer picking up three early fouls in the first quarter, and then ultimately fouling out, still with a little over two minutes remaining in a game where Druid Hills remained pesky throughout.
It’s that confidence that’s he’s always had in his game that kept him working hard on and off the court to give him a chance to have a special senior season.
“It feels good to be here and be a part of this team,” he said. “At first, I was upset because I just couldn’t play because at first I couldn’t get my grades right at Newton. But since I came over here, I’ve been on the A and B honor roll. Everything has worked out perfectly.”
It worked out perfectly for Eastside, also.
Dyer’s scoring and rebounding has taken pressure off of Perry who assumed unquestioned leader status on the Eagles’ squad after the transfers of Isaiah Miller (Newton) and Joshua Cammon (Tucker).
“He’s one we got from the other side,” Wren said. “And he’s getting better and better the more we gravitate toward the end of the season. We appreciate having him.”
The feeling is mutual for Dyer. That much is evident as the somewhat soft spoken wing player begins to gush about the camaraderie he’s found at Eastside.
“It’s just that we have a very tight bond,” Dyer said. “Everybody listens. Everybody works hard and does everything together to try and get better.”
It’s the kind of environment he’s always wanted to be in, and one Wren wishes he could keep him in.
“Man, if I had him for four years,” said Wren, his voice trailing off. “I wish he could reclassify and stay for another one. That’s just the kind of a kid he is. He’s like an old man on the court. There’s a physicalness to him, but he’s very soft spoken. When he speaks, though, Wren says he commands attention.
“Everybody knows that when he talks, he’s going to be straight and direct,” Wren said. “There are no in-betweens with him.”
Perhaps that’s what allows Dyer to spend few works making bold declarations of where he wants his career to go.
“I want to play in college,” he said. “I really want to go the league (NBA).”
And Wren won’t argue with him about it.
“I love this kid,” Wren said. “For him to come on here to our varsity team and average a double-double in his first year just speaks volumes of how tough a kid he is. His hard work is paying off. The sky is the limit for Des.”