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Cedar Creek's Conrad impresses District 23-5A coaches, selected MVP

Cedar Creek's Robert Conrad, District 23-5A scoring leader at 22 points a game, follows through on a jump shot

By Jim Irish

Photos by Justyn Werner and Mike Valiska

Despite a height of only 5-foot-10, Robert Conrad stood much taller in the eyes of District 23-5A basketball coaches.

Conrad, Cedar Creek’s four-year starter at point guard, was recently selected as the district’s most valuable player.

When coaches met to vote on the all-district team, Cedar Creek coach Valentino Maxwell said several told him, “I’m glad Robert Conrad’s not coming back next year.”

Coaches are not allowed to vote for their players on the all-district team. Conrad was not a unanimous selection as MVP, but most district coaches clearly thought he was the best player.

He's easily the best to come through (Cedar Creek). He's the total package."

-- Cedar Creek coach Valentino Maxwell speaking about Conrad

”I’m sad I’m not going to be coaching him next year,” Maxwell said. “He’s easily the best player to come through (Cedar Creek). He’s the total package. He was a leader by example. He was vocal his senior year. He wanted not only for himself but for his team.”

The MVP is typically selected from the district champion, but in this case, Conrad played for the fourth-place team (9-5). In other words, Conrad impressed district coaches.

After playing only one district game last season because of a dislocated elbow, Conrad returned with a vengeance.

Only 5-foot-10, Conrad is able to soar above the rim

In 14 district games, Conrad averaged 22.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 2.3 steals a game. Demonstrating his skills as a ball handler, he committed only 1.4 turnovers a game.

He shot 49.5% from the field, 40% from three-point range, and 77% from the free throw line.

Conrad displayed quickness on the dribble and often penetrated in the paint for layups or short jump shots. He also used his 36-inch vertical leap to go over the rim on dunks and block opponents’ shots.

In addition, Conrad covered the opponent’s best guard on defense. He limited Georgetown point guard Kai Canfield, the district’s co-offensive MVP who averaged 19 ppg, to 7 and 14 points in two games.

”He was always going to win his matchups,” Maxwell said. “Defensively, he’s gonna make it hard for players to score.”

Behind Conrad, Cedar Creek won a state playoff contest — over McCallum — for the first time in the school’s history.

Conrad also excelled in the classroom with a 4.0 GPA and is an academic all-state selection.

Junior Kenji Franklin, here attracting a crowd, was named co-offensive MVP in the district

Conrad signed a scholarship with Division III Trinity University of San Antonio, which is currently ranked No. 15 in the nation.  

Kenji Franklin, Cedar Creek’s 6-6 junior, was named co-offensive MVP in the district.

He averaged 16.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.6 blocks a game. He led the team with 54.7% from the field and connected on 36.2% from long range and 68% from the free throw line.

Maxwell said Franklin will play for an elite Under Armour AAU team in Dallas this summer.

”I expect him to get some (college) offers this summer,” Maxwell said. “He’s working on his game, taking the next step. KJ is a natural guard.”

Micah McDonald, a 6-2 senior who averaged 8.4 points and 5.8 rebounds a game, was chosen to the district’s second team.

Leland Washington, a 6-4 senior, and Braydon Adams, a 5-11 junior, were named honorable mention.

Jim Irish is a freelance writer in Bastrop, Texas

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