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Winthrop Senior and Basketball Star Kelton Talford: A Shining Example of Great Falls Athletic Excellence

Basketball player celebrating victory

Student Athlete Spotlight: Kelton Talford

Great Falls, South Carolina has long been known for nurturing top-notch basketball players, and Winthrop senior Kelton Talford is the latest addition to this distinguished list. This towering 6-foot-7 player has made his strides on the court, joining the esteemed 1,000-point club this year during a rousing victory over Bob Jones University.

Roots in a Basketball Town

Fewer than 2,000 residents call Great Falls home, but despite its size, the town has been a hotbed for high school basketball. The community passion for the game, Talford says, became the cornerstone of his life, too. “Everyone in Great Falls loves basketball and the support is like no other place you’ll see. It’s a staple of the community,” he remarks. Their love for the game often translates into standing-room-only crowds at the local gym.

Making His Mark

Talford is not just a player; he’s a star in his own right. During his four-year tenure at Great Falls, he was all-region four times and earned Player of the Year honors three times. A three-time All-State selection, he averaged 21 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 blocks as a senior.

“I played baseball, football, basketball and tried track for a while. When you’re at a school that small you play everything or there might not be enough players to have a team. I’d leave football practice and walk to the gym and practice basketball,” he recalls. Despite these impressive stats, he didn’t attract much attention from big names in the recruitment world.

Turning Stature into an Advantage

While some may have seen his size as a disadvantage, Talford turned it into a strength. With a work ethic predicated on footwork drills and speed, he consistently outmaneuvered bigger, slower post defenders.

“Growing up I was always the tallest kid in my class and when I got to Great Falls my dad knew I was going to be a five (post),” Kelton said. “He’s always told me you’ll never be the tallest or the strongest but I could make up for it with by footwork. So, we just did endless repetitions of footwork drills.”

Playing at Winthrop

Winthrop University, with its semblance to his hometown and its proximity to it, became his chosen ground to show his prowess in basketball. An All-Big South first team honoree, Talford is still blazing a trail with an average of 16.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, along with a .669 percent field shot average ranking him sixth nationally.

Moving Forward

With his college career beginning in the uncertain times of 2020, Talford has been granted an extra season of eligibility. “I haven’t thought that much about it,” he said. “I’m living in the moment and taking this season one game at a time.”

While the next step in Talford’s basketball journey is yet to be decided, his impressive streak remains a testament to his skill, his dedication, and the sport-loving spirit of the small town of Great Falls.

HERE Rock Hill
Author: HERE Rock Hill

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