Peters roams as Hunter's big cat

By Jeff Birchfield
STAR STAFF

   In the three seasons since Charles Peters has played basketball for the Hunter Tigers, his team has been virtually unstoppable. Those three years, the Tigers have compiled an overall record of 68 wins against only five losses. They have won the conference championship all three times, plus have captured the district crown and the regional crown twice.
   Peters, the center on this year's championship team, has averaged an incredible 25 points and 19 rebounds per game. Still, this does not mean Charles plans on resting anytime soon. "I try to work hard and get better everytime I go out there," said Peters. "Every day, I try to improve."
   That is something instilled in Charles by his father C.Y., who has often served as a youth league coach. The elder Peters excelled in all three of the major ball sports just like the son, good enough to play football as a walk-on at Auburn. His love for sports has never waned, being a referee for the past 24 years. He also worked for years as a professional wrestler. Last August, C.Y. started a new venture as the owner of the weekly newspaper "Double Play Sports".
   He hopes sports will be as kind to Charles as they have been to him. "I don't know which sport will be his best sport," said the father. "He has been on a team that has won two state championships in baseball. He was the leading rusher on his football team and he's averaged 25 points a game in basketball."
   Charles current stated a preference for the hardwood. "Basketball is what I have played the longest, so I have favored it," said Charles. "Year round, we are playing some sport everyday. I'm always out there practicing."
   Sports is so much a part of the Peters family that all five of C.Y. and his wife Rhonda's children (Alice, Crystal, Charles, Jeff and Natasha) were playing ball at one time. "We stayed at the gym all year long," C.Y. joked. "I'm proud of all our kids. When they play, they give it all they've got. They always give it their best and they never loaf."
   Mike Dorsey knows all about the efforts of Charles. Before becoming his coach at Hunter this year, Dorsey was on the losing end of a 42-point effort by Peters as the coach at Happy Valley.
   "If you rotate properly, you might be able to slow him down," said Dorsey. "But, that night his teammates passed him the ball real well. I still give him a hard time about him banking a 3-point shot on us right before the half against us."
   Dorsey is glad that now Charles is on his side. "He's meant everything to our team," the coach commented. "He encourages the other kids, taking time to help the fifth and sixth graders. He's special. Not many of the kids of his caliber would do that. He's amazing in that aspect."
   To Charles, he is simply passing on lessons learned by watching older players himself. His most valuable tudor, besides his father has been big sister Alice, who starred for Hampton last season.
   "She was dominant and I want to be aggressive like she was," said Charles. "I want to play as a team like she did. She would sometimes have a chance to shoot and would pass the ball to somebody else that was open."
   Added C.Y. "Charles went to a lot of games that Alice played. He heard me fuss at her a lot. I think one of the biggest things that has helped him is that he learned to shoot as he was getting fouled. We stayed outside and played ball and we didn't call fouls. I would foul him hard and knock him down when he shot."
   That leads to coach Dorsey's assessment of the best part of Charles' game. "He does a great job rebounding," said the Tiger coach. "He's real basketball smart and has a good inside game. His ballhandling has improved this year, which should help him. He may have to play some wing in high school."
   Asked where Charles most needs to work before playing high school ball and Dorsey responded, "He needs to improve his ball handling even more and his outside shots." He added, "But, I think he can go in and make an immediate impact in high school."
   One thing for sure is that Charles Peters has more than made an impact at Hunter. He leaves a legacy on the basketball floor as perhaps the school's greatest player.