Sicily Island coach, player cap off history-making year with area top honors

Published 12:02 am Sunday, April 2, 2017

When Sicily Island High School’s Devion Dunbar transferred schools to Prime Prep Academy just a few weeks before his sophomore basketball season, he was uncertain at first. And when Curtis Shavers heard rumors of Dunbar returning to the team, the Tiger coach was just as hesitant.

That was until it actually happened.

Since Dunbar’s homecoming two years ago, Shavers most recently led the Tigers to a notable 2016-17 season, as SIHS received a No. 1 ranking for the first time in school history. Sicily Island finished the year with a 27-6 mark after reaching the LHSAA Class 1A semifinals.

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The accolades didn’t come without Dunbar’s help, as the senior guard averaged 24.6 points and 7.2 rebounds game. He was also named the LHSAA District 2-1A All-District MVP and to the All-District First Team.

For his efforts during his final season, Dunbar was named The Democrat’s All-Metro Boys Player of the Year, alongside Shavers as the All-Metro Boys Coach of the Year.

“I feel excited about this,” Shavers said. “We’ve accomplished a lot this year.”

Dunbar spent just one school year at the charter and skill-based program located near Dallas before Prime Prep closed due to financial issues. He then played the following summer on a travel-league team in Texas, then returning to Sicily Island to be right where he felt most at home.

“I didn’t really want to go,” Dunbar said. “I wanted to be with my team. I can’t really explain the feeling. It just feels normal.”

“We weren’t happy that he left,” Shavers added about losing perhaps his best player. “I just didn’t want to get to a point where I thought he was coming back and then I got let down. I wasn’t going to try to stand in his way because at the end of the day, it’s what’s best for the kid.”

While Shavers said Dunbar learned many valuable techniques during his time away from the Tigers, his leadership had been unmatched since he has been back.

“I knew he loved the game, but I never thought he would develop into the player that he has become,” Shavers said. “I think it worked out for the both of us, and I’m super proud of him.”

On the other hand, Dunbar said Shavers has been more than just a coach.

“He gets on every little mistake that we do,” he said. “It means a lot.”

Although he hasn’t made any decisions yet, Dunbar knows college basketball is his next step, whereas Shavers will rebuild his starting five. Graduating with Dunbar will be Jameon and Johnny Tolliver.

“It was a great year,” Shavers said. “It’s an honor to be named, especially both player and coach.”