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story.lead_photo.caption NWA Democrat-Gazette/J.T. WAMPLER Senior Carson Jernigan of Harrison will lead the Goblins into a new conference this season.

SPRINGDALE -- Carson Jernigan wasn't an instant star on the basketball court.

In his early junior high days, the Harrison senior was self-described as "short and sort of chubby."

AT A GLANCE

CARSON JERNIGAN

SCHOOL Harrison

HEIGHT 6-3

CLASS Senior

POSITION Shooting Guard

NOTABLE Was named to the 5A all-star team last season after helping the Goblins reach the second round of the 5A state tournament and a 25-5 record. … Averaged 12 points per game last season. … Plays for the Ozark Elite AAU summer team.

Then came a six-inch growth spurt in the ninth grade. Goodbye short and chubby, hello future all-state shooting guard.

"That was when I realized basketball was something I was pretty good at," Jernigan said.

Harrison was 25-5 last season and went 12-0 in the 5A-West. The Goblins advanced to the second round of the state tournament before falling to Little Rock Parkview for the second straight season.

This season after a radical realignment by the Arkansas Activities Association, the Goblins are in the 4A-1 Conference with fellow 5A-West neighbor Farmington.

"We played most of these new teams this summer in team camps," Jernigan said. "I think us moving to 4A, we'll have a target on us, but there are other 5A teams who also moved down, so I think it will all even out."

Jernigan averaged 12 points per game last season, a number that likely will rise this season. In the off-season, he plays for the Ozark Elite AAU team.

"I think that has helped me, playing in AAU against higher level competition," Jernigan said.

Jernigan has designs on playing at the collegiate level, but he hasn't made a decision where that will be.

This off-season, Jernigan has spent a lot of time working on his game, especially focusing on improving his left hand. He's also worked on his perimeter shooting, he said.

"This summer I spent a lot more time outside than posting up," Jernigan said. "I'm probably going to play the 3 in college, so that's where I have worked the most to improve."

Harrison will open the season Nov. 20 at Branson, Mo., and will head to Willard, Mo., for a tournament at the end of the month. The Goblins will also compete in the Fayetteville tournament in early December, and they will host the 4A-1 Conference Tournament in Goblin Arena at the end of the season.

Away from the court, Jernigan said he watches a lot of game film.

"I fish a little, too, but not very often," he said.

Sports on 11/04/2018

Print Headline: CLASS 4A: Jernigan blooms into star guard

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