C.E. Talton added his name to some of the greats in the history of Monroe City basketball as he passed 1,000 career points.
When C.E. Talton joined the Monroe City boys basketball team, he was uncertain of when he would get the chance to make an impact for the Panthers.
But the uncertainty did not stop him from setting a pair of lofty goals.
“I wanted to be the best and I want to get first place at state,” the Monroe City junior said. “I don’t think Monroe City has ever done that in basketball so that is what I want to achieve.”
Talton did not have to wait too long to start making the impact he hoped to make.
Panthers coach Brock Edris came to Talton during summer workouts before his freshman campaign to let him know he would be playing varsity.
“After coach told me he wanted me to play on the varsity as a freshman, I started putting in a lot more work that summer,” Talton admitted. “I knew I was going to have to step up my game.”
With guys like Michael Speaks and Logan Minter on the Panthers roster during his first two seasons, Talton did not have to worry about being the centerpiece of the team.
With those two stalwarts graduated, Talton is the Panthers go-to player this season and he has not disappointed. The junior has put the team on his back on numerous occasions and already has multiple 30-point performances, including 39 at Louisiana.
Last Thursday in the semifinals of the Tony Lenzini Tournament, Talton added his name to some of the greats at Monroe City as he reached the 1,000-point milestone.
With 3 minutes, 34 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Monroe City trailed Palmyra, 51-49. Talton came up with an offensive rebound basket for career points 1,000 and 1,001. He finished with 28 points in the Panthers win.
After the game, Talton’s accomplishment was announced, prompting an ovation from the entire Monroe City team and the Palmyra players.
Tuesday night before the Panthers took the court against visiting Highland, Talton was recognized for the milestone as Edris presented him a game ball commemorating his 1,000th point.
“It was such an honor,” Talton said. “But first and foremost, I have to give all the glory to God. Without Him, this would not have happened. He has carried me all the way.”
As a sophomore, Talton scored just over 14 points per game as the Panthers won a Class 3 district championship.
Edris mentioned Talton has taken his game to a new level this season.
“He has improved drastically in just one year from last year to this year,” the Panthers coach said. “He may be one of the most improved players, and you don’t really hear that being said about a kid who was so good as a sophomore. But credit to him for his work ethic in the gym and in the weight room.”
Edris noted the biggest difference in Talton’s game is his shot.
“He didn’t shoot the ball real great from the 3-point line last year,” the Panthers coach admitted. “But now he is a multiple threat on offense. Guys have to try and get out there to guard him, but at the same time he is so good off the dribble. He is starting to really finish nicely around the rim too. And when he draws a lot of attention from the defense, he know when to create for his teammates.”
Aside from the Monroe City coaching staff helping Talton turn into a better all-around player, the junior also gets plenty of workouts with Pure Sweat coach Matt Pugh.
“C.E. is one of the most committed and dedicated players I have had the pleasure of working with,” Pugh said. “He sacrifices friends, fun and leisure to be as good as he can be. He’s boring, and that is a huge compliment. He is in the gym before school several days a week.
“Simply put, he does all the things other players just are not willing to do.”
All those little things have added up to big numbers for the dynamic playmaker. But for Talton, the only set of numbers he is concerned with is the number of wins his team racks up.
With the junior running the show, the Panthers are off to a 15-3 start.
“I just want to win,” Talton said. “That is the most important aspect.”