Peoria Central returns three starters from its Class AA State Title, but now
have another new addition in Peoria Richwoods transfer Dustin Warfield.
Warfield to Peoria Central
By Frank Rusnak
Already the favorite to repeat as Class AA State Champions, Peoria Central just got a facelift as if they needed it.
Peoria Richwoods star Dustin Warfield, a 66 rising senior, has enrolled at Central.
Warfield is expected to step in the power forward position, surrounded by the nucleus of rising junior center 67 DeAndre Miranda and the three-headed guard attack of rising seniors 510 Jacob Motteler, 61 Brandon Lee and 67 Shaun Livingston.
My family wanted me to start over, said Warfield, who
lives with his grandparents Ron and Margo Warfield. For me to start over I needed to
go to a different school.
Livingston and Warfield talked about it three years ago. They knew the chance was there and it was just a matter of time. But they didnt think it would come down to this.
"I think the word winner just kind of sums [Dustin Warfield] up."
Livingston and Warfield have been playing together since the fourth grade and both started their prep careers at Peoria Richwoods under coach Bob Darling. They talked about the teams possibilities at a state championship run all the way back as freshmen when Livingston dressed for varsity and Warfield played on the sophomore team.
We always said our class that went in there we were going to be one of the best teams in the state our junior and senior year, said Warfield. We thought we were going to win it our junior or senior year, or both.
We had a real good class with some pretty good talent; added Livingston, big men, guards and shooters, but people had to go their separate ways and sometimes things change for the best.
Things didnt materialize as they imagined. Livingston had two injury-riddled years at Richwoods before he transferred to Central for his junior year. Warfield started last year on a team that advanced to the sectionals where they fell for the third time of the year to Central, 62-47.
After Richwoods season-ending loss, Darling stepped down and assistant Mike Ellis has since been announced as his replacement.
But what is it that Warfield can add to the team that already has it all?
Adding a winner that provides intangibles and fills in whatever little pieces are missing on a team might work just fine.
I think the word winner just kind of sums him up, said Warfields Illinois Gunners AAU coach Darren Bizarri. He scores enough, but he's a much better rebounder and defender than what people think he is. His intangibles are really what set him apart for us. Lots of times [colleges] look at the run and jump, but they don't see the intangibles, but I hope all the colleges get a chance to see everything that he brings to the table.
At the 2002 High School Elite PEP Fall Classic, Warfield averaged 19 points a game in the two-day event. He went on to receive third team mention, ahead of such notables as Dameon Mason (Marquette), Jimmie Miles (Valparaiso) and Dan Ruffin (Bradley).
Dan Ruffin is one of the names that Warfield will be attempting to help replace along with Dans cousin John Ruffin who were both starters.
Central coach Chuck Buescher was unavailable for comment.
Warfield averaged eight points and six rebounds last year. In his arsenal he has a smooth, high-rising jump shot, good post-up moves and plays much taller than his 66 size because of a strong base and physical style of play.
He's a good basketball player because he can play inside and outside, said Joe Stoner, head coach of Centrals Mid-State 6 rival Pekin. He just offers Central yet another weapon, while the Miranda kid is going to get a little help inside.
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