MISTER DO IT ALL: Natchez High relies on Ivory to play virtually anything

Published 12:02 am Thursday, December 11, 2014

Natchez High School's Jadarrius Ivory plays guard and forward for the men's basketball team as well as earning a 3.7 GPA in school. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Natchez High School’s Jadarrius Ivory plays guard and forward for the men’s basketball team as well as earning a 3.7 GPA in school. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Jadarrius Ivory is one of Natchez High School’s answers for the various equations opponents give the Bulldogs this basketball season.

Ivory, a math enthusiast, gladly accepts his role, using his rangy long arms to help the Bulldogs as a guard or as a forward. Of course, his role changes as the different schools offer different equations for Natchez High coaches Mike Martin and David Haywood to solve.

“If we play somebody like Ferriday, they’ll say, ‘We need y’all more for rebounding,’ but if we play somebody like Woodville, they’ll say, ‘We need you to play at guard for defense,’” said the Natchez High junior. “He has a game plan for every team. If they’re like us and like to run, then we have to get back. If they’re big, then we have to box out, get strong underneath.”

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Ivory got his first taste of his role last season when Martin plugged him into the lineup, using his length to help serve as an equalizer on the court. However, because of his build, Ivory thought his lack of muscle might be a cause for concern.

“I was like, ‘Me? With my size?” asked Ivory at the time. “(Martin) was like, ‘Yeah, we’re little.’ Besides Michael (Morris) and Dominique (Mazique), we don’t have the experience down low, so I had to step up.”

Haywood said that Ivory has worked hard enough to make himself a valuable asset to the team, able to play virtually any position on the floor.

“He works really hard,” Haywood said. “He’s put in a lot of work this offseason, worked on his shot and got a little stronger.”

Ivory looks up to New Orleans’ Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis, as he admires the power forward’s ability to dominate games despite giving up bulk to defenders in college and now in the pros.

“I like him because he’s not big, but he plays big,” Ivory said. “You don’t have to be like real muscular if you know how to play the game.”

Ivory, who plays basketball, football and baseball, said he loves sports and hopes to play them at the next level, but that’s not his only option for success after high school. Ivory boasts a 3.7 GPA, and he’s eying Mississippi State and Ole Miss as options to go and fulfill his dream of being an engineer.

“Both of those schools have great engineer programs, and I want to stay in the state,” Ivory said.

Until then, Ivory, the son of Tabitha Williams and Jonathan Ivory, will continue playing all the sports he can, working hard in both the classroom and in extracurricular activities.

“His work ethic on the court has carried over to the classroom,” Haywood said. “He’s a people person, he gets along with everyone and he’s a great young man.”