Handles the ball well, can get to the basket, plays well outside and inside, scores on most possessions, tough to guard.
Byrd and his coaches know that it can get better, and the junior is working on that, even when his output this season has been a high mark for a Wolves team on the upswing.
“He’s a fantastic player,” Rome assistant coach Levon Grant said. “He’s a load to try to get ready for as far as game planning for other teams because he is so versatile. He’s already got a few offers from a few schools, but the way he’s playing right now I think that interest is probably going to skyrocket.”
Byrd — who wears the number zero — has been anything but a zero for Rome since joining the team prior to last season when he moved from Conyers where he played at Heritage High School.
He averaged 22 points per game in his first season at Rome and made the Region 7-5A all-region team as a sophomore, but has lit up the scoreboard night after night this season while leading the Wolves to an 11-5 record so far, including eight wins in their last 10 games.
Part of that stretch was a 34-point performance against region opponent Villa Rica last Friday and 32 points against Hiram the next night, as well as a career game on Dec. 22 against Class 6A Forest Park when he finished with an astonishing 51 points.
Byrd said he approached crossing the half-century mark like he does whenever he competes — it just comes to him.
“I just let it come to me,” Byrd said about his scoring proficiency. “We’re just progressing every single day — getting better. Points-wise I try to get my players involved first and then try to get going.”
Rome has already won more games this season than all of last season with no small part of the credit going to Byrd.
The team went 3-0 in the Rome News-Tribune/Seven Hills Rotary Christmas Tournament last month, winning the Gold Ball Trophy for the first time since 2009. Byrd scored 91 points in the tournament and was named MVP.
Byrd is only eight points away from reaching 1,000 points for his high school career and will more than likely reach the milestone tonight during Rome’s game on the road at Woodland. Byrd scored 25 points during their Wolves’ last contest with the fellow Region 7-5A team when they won 60-51.
Grant said Byrd has been a big part of the Wolves’ success, but it is also owed to the team’s acceptance of their roles. He said Byrd has embraced his role as the team’s go-to guy, and he puts in the work to make sure he’s the best he can be on the court.
“He works hard,” Grant said. “He’s always in the gym putting in the time and working on his game. We’re just asking that he keeps working and progressing on his game every day. At the end he’ll be where he wants to be.”
Byrd is just as emphatic that he continues to improve as well.
“Just working hard every day,” Byrd added. “I’m in the gym every single day — all the time. Staying in the gym, and staying in the weight room, and just trying to better every day.”