In the game of basketball there are many skills that come in to play.
Shooting, ball handling and passing are always at the top of most players list.
Having all those skills are great, but you can't pass, shoot or dribble if you don't have the ball and that’s where the art of rebounding enters the picture.
Here in Bolivar County there's one young man who takes rebounding more serious than anything else on the court.
His name is Ellis Townsend, Jr. and he is a person who walks to the beat of his own drum.
He considers himself a trendsetter and from the way he plays basketball to the way he dresses it is safe to say he is on to something.
This season Townsend is having his best year for the 10-6 Wildcats. The senior is leading the team with 16 points per game, but more impressively he leads them in rebounding at 13 boards per night.
The intensity by which he attacks each rebound is unrivaled in the area. The simple truth according to Townsend is, "I just love it."
The fact that he plays power forward for the Wildcats doesn't make his rebounding stats impressive, but the fact that he only stands 5-feet-10 and weighs 145 pounds does.
"Being that I'm undersized and playing the power forward position I always try to get leverage on my opponents. I always find the man and then I face up with them before I turn to box them out. If I can't do that I allow the ball to hit the floor and then I go get it," said Townsend.
Since coming to Cleveland High and playing as a sophomore Townsend has been a terror on the boards. Last season he led the team with 7.3 rebounds per game and in his sophomore year he led the team with 5.6 rebounds per game.
"I feel like each time that ball comes off the rim it belongs to me. It's my ball. No matter where it goes I'm going to try and get it," he added.
Cleveland High head coach James Strong believes Ellis is the heart and soul of the Wildcats basketball team and compares him to a basketball hall of famer.
"I feel like Ellis is the backbone of the team. He is like the Dennis Rodman of our team. Earlier in the year we lost to South Panola and Ingomar and if we would have had him healthy I feel like we would have won those games. We couldn't get a rebound down the stretch in those games and we came up short," said Strong.
As a leader Strong said Townsend isn't one who talks a lot on the floor or in practice, but leads with his actions.
"He leads by his play, but I wish he was a little more vocal. He's going to play hard every night, but if he was to speak up a little more I guarantee the guys will listen," he added.
In addition to becoming a better rebounder each year, Townsend has also improved his shot and has become more aggressive on the offensive end of the floor.
"I worked hard on my mid-range jump shot in the gym and at home. I always start with basic shots under the goal and work my way out. Being a senior I wanted to be able to do more this year to help my team," said Townsend.
One of the biggest motivations for Townsend is his family. He says his mom Carla and dad Ellis Sr. along with his sisters and other family members are always there to support and he loves playing in front of them.
"It's big time to have them here for me. My mom and dad were big time athletes so to have them here is big. I just want to make them proud," he said.
With basketball and finishing up his final year of high school at the forefront of his agenda right now, Townsend also finds time for his other passion, which is fashion.
When you see him, you will always have to look twice because you never know what he will be wearing.
When it comes to fashion Townsend makes sure he's doing something no one else is.
"I like being different. I don't want to be like the next man. Everywhere I go people want to take pictures with me because of what I'm wearing. I make my own clothes and so one day I want to start my own business where people will rock my stuff," he added.
For the past three years Townsend has been making his own stuff and it started with learning how to sew from his aunt Willie Mae Bracey and his cousin Tony Bracey, who is a fashion designer in Atlanta, also gives him tips and information about fabric.
"It's all about being a leader," Townsend added.