Written For The LSWA // By Robin Fambrough
When Carlos Stewart suffered a knee injury in January, there was no guarantee he could return to The Dunham School lineup.
For some, a leap of faith fuels the return to action. Stewart’s return just 20 days and five games after the injury/surgery was powered by a different kind of leap.
“After the surgery, I worked hard at rehab. The first practices I wasn’t sure about,” Stewart said. “Soon it felt good. The way I could run and jump … I knew I was OK.”
The 6-foot-1 senior was more than just OK. Stewart cemented his elite status after his return and was selected as the Louisiana Farm Bureau Insurance/LSWA Mr. Basketball winner after leading the Tigers to a second straight Division III select LHSAA title.
The Santa Clara signee was prolific and efficient, averaging 32.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.8 steals. He made 55.4 precent of his field goal attempts, including 44.5 percent of his 3-pointers.
Stewart, the LSWA’s two-time Class 2A Outstanding Player, also made 85.7 percent of his free throws. Stewart’s selection marks the seventh straight year a Baton Rouge area player has won the LSWA’s top boys basketball award.
“He is just so special … certainly the best player I have ever coached and the best player this school has had,” Dunham coach Jonathan Pixley said. “There are a lot of guards who can score. But he is the most efficient high school guard I have ever seen in this state who has averaged 30 points a game.”
Stewart also draws praise for his defensive skills and ability to dominate multiple phases of the game. Always a student of the game, he typically was assigned to guard the opponent’s top player.
“There is always something you need to improve on,” Stewart said. “If you are not working to make your game better, your game cannot evolve.”
Stewart’s desire and work ethic were never questioned by opponents.
“He wants to dominate the entire game … offense and defense. He has that mentality and motor to do it,” Scotlandville coach Carlos Sample, a former Istrouma High and Southern University star, said of Stewart. “That was always my mindset as a player, but I was nowhere near as good.”
And dominate is exactly what Stewart did at the LHSAA tourney. He scored 25 of the Tigers’ 45 points in a semifinal win over Lafayette Christian in Lafayette.
Stewart was even better in the title game. He finished with 28 points and 10 rebounds while scoring nine of the final 10 points in Dunham’s 52-48 victory over top-seeded Isidore Newman in the title game in Lake Charles.
While the numbers and awards are nice, Stewart said winning another title with his Dunham teammates was the greatest motivation and reward in 2020-21.
“Being able to win another title and finish it off with my guys … my teammates means everything,” Stewart said.
La. Farm Bureau Insurance/LSWA Mr. Basketball winners
1996: Lester Earl, Glen Oaks
1997: Marcus Fizer, Arcadia
1998: Stromile Swift, Fair Park
1999: Bernard King, Gibsland Coleman
2000: Chris Duhon, Salmen
2001: Donald Perry, McCall
2002: Darrel Mitchell Jr., St. Martinville
2003: Paul Millsap, Grambling
2004: Glen Davis, University
2005: Tasmin Mitchell, Denham Springs
2006: Demond Carter, Reserve Christian
2007: Greg Monroe, Helen Cox
2008: Greg Monroe, Helen Cox
2009: Joevoskie Mitchell, Zwolle
2010: Markel Brown, Peabody
2011: Ricardo Gathers, Riverside
2012: Dee Wagner, Peabody
2013: Jarell Martin, Madison Prep
2014: Reginal Johnson Jr., Richwood
2015: Brandon Sampson, Madison Prep
2016: Javonte Smart, Scotlandville
2017: Javonte Smart, Scotlandville
2018: Javonte Smart, Scotlandville
2019: Jalen Cook, Walker
2020: Reece Beekman, Scotlandville
2021: Carlos Stewart, The Dunham School