Sometimes, change is good for Arlan Wallace.
As the son of a career military man, Wallace and his family have lived around the world. He had never attended the same school for more than two years before spending every one of his high school years at Northwest Cabarrus.
As a senior guard on the Trojans' basketball team, Wallace overcame a brief early-season demotion to the bench to become one of Cabarrus County's hottest players.
Bumping his scoring average to more than nine points a game, Wallace played a major role in the seven-game winning streak Northwest put together to take a tight grasp of second place in the South Piedmont Conference.
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The son of Jeffrey and Eva Wallace, Arlen Wallace was born in Charlotte and started playing recreational basketball in elementary school. In between was a stop in Germany, where Jeffrey Wallace was stationed in the Army.
For a few years, the Wallaces lived in Alaska, where the senior "loved the scenery." They moved to Fayetteville prior to his seventh-grade year.
Wallace's scholastic basketball career didn't get off to a good start, as his first try at making his middle school team failed. When the family moved to Mooresville the following year, however, Wallace landed on the eighth-grade team.
But a move to Concord followed the basketball season.
Wallace's freshman year on Northwest's junior varsity team was mostly uneventful, except for him hitting a three-pointer that allowed the Trojans to reach 100 points late in a lopsided victory.
He started for the JV during his sophomore year, but one of his highlights was actually more of a "lowlight." Wallace mistakenly thought the Trojans were down a point late in a game at Lake Norman and intentionally fouled. When the Wildcats player made both free throws, Lake Norman ended up with a one-point edge and the win.
His basketball IQ is one of the things Wallace set out to improve at the onset of his first varsity season. He also made himself faster and stronger with a personalized off-season workout regimen.
Having earned a starting spot late in the season, the 6-foot-3 Wallace averaged 5.5 points and 4 rebounds last season. The conference tournament championship game may have set a tone for his senior season, as Wallace scored a career-high 19 points in a loss to Concord.
This season, Wallace started the first four games and averaged five points a game. But a shooting slump led Trojan coach Daniel Jenkins to put Wallace on the bench for a couple games.
"I let some of the mistakes I was making get to my head," said Wallace. "I took things more seriously than I should have."
In his new role, Wallace scored 11 points in a loss to Concord and 12 in a win against Mount Pleasant.
Jenkins reinserted Wallace into his top five for the next game against Salisbury. Wallace made all four of his three-pointers and finished with a career-high 25 points as the Trojans recorded a come-from-behind win.
In the 12 games since he has returned to the starting lineup, Wallace has averaged more than 11 points per game. He came up big against Central Cabarrus, scoring 17 points - including the game-winning bucket - and in the Trojans' upset of the SPC's top team, Concord, last week. Wallace scored 12 points against the Spiders.
"You can tell his parents have done a good job of raising him," said Jenkins, "because he will find his role on the team and make the team better."
The SPC tournament is scheduled to begin Feb. 14, while the state playoffs are set to begin the following week.
Wallace's immediate plans are to run track and field in the spring. An officer in Northwest's Multicultural Club and Future Business Leaders of America, Wallace hopes to major in accounting.