Caesar: ‘I feel like I’m well prepared for everything’

Christina Caesar (in white) excelled as a tenacious one-on-one defender for the Phoenix. (Photo by Craig T. Greenlee)

Caesar: ‘I feel like I’m well prepared for everything’
June 02
00:01 2016

Christina Caesar’s true value as a basketball player cannot be fully measured by points, rebounds and steals. The soon-to-be Winston-Salem Prep graduate provided moxie and tenacity on a highly skilled squad that won back-to-back Class 1-A state championships.

Caesar, a 5-6 senior swing player, is ready to move into the next stage of her career as a student-athlete. She recently signed with Cape Fear Community College and has no doubts that she’s more than ready to deal with new challenges.

“The high level of competition in practice plus the conditioning we had to go through made things real tough,” said Caesar. “And coach (Eugene Love) was hard on us. He pushed all of us to be the best we could be. So, as I get ready for junior college, I feel like I’m well prepared for everything.”

In her final high school season, Caesar didn’t post eye-popping numbers. But that was all by design because of Prep’s personnel. Aside from leading scorers, Jada Craig (11.9 points per game) and Mychala Wolfe (10.2 points per game), the rest of the team averaged anywhere in the neighborhood of seven to nine points a game. Caesar averaged 6.8 points, 4 rebounds and 2.5 steals this past season.

“Christina is one of those players whose contributions don’t always show up on the stat sheet,” said Love. “Because of her instincts and exceptional lateral movement, she always drew the toughest defensive assignment. Not only that, but she’s very good at taking charge.

“Over the last couple of seasons, she really picked up her scoring. As a senior, she was one of our better 3-point shooters.”

Although Caesar was never cast in the role of being the team’s go-to scorer, she was always able to produce some offensive fireworks when needed. Such was the case in the West Regional final two months ago against rival Atkins.

In the first half, Craig, the starting point guard, encountered foul difficulty and had to sit on the bench for long stretches of time. Caesar wasted no time taking charge and asserting her will at the offensive end of the floor. She finished with a game-high 16 points, which propelled the Phoenix to a 56-44 victory and a second straight appearance in the state final.

“When Jada picked up those fouls and had to sit on the bench, we really needed to get some offense going,” said Caesar. “Somebody had to step up.”

Caesar, who has a 3.5 grade-point average, had a joyous ending to her high school career. But a year earlier, there was concern because of a torn ACL she suffered in the first half of the 2015 state championship game. Caesar was forced to watch the second half of the game from the sidelines.

It was during the off-season when Caesar started gaining confidence that she could play basketball beyond high school. “Once I saw that I could make a comeback, I felt a lot better about being able to play at the college level,” she said. “Coming back from that injury was hard. At times, I wanted to give up. That’s one of the reasons why it felt so great to win the state championship this year.”

Love believes that the best is yet to come for Caesar, who wants to pursue a career as a physical therapist. In his mind, her desire to excel and her ever-improving offensive game bodes well for Caesar emerging as a factor at shooting guard and/or small forward in college. “I see her doing very well as a utility player,” said Love. “She’s quick enough to play on the perimeter and strong enough to go inside and score and grab rebounds.”

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Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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