By R. Alan Richardson
For the second year in a row, the East Jackson teams invited all their rivals and media outlets to join them for Media Day. All teams from 8-AAA were well represented and enjoyed the beautiful facilities as well as a meal, photo ops, a short rules clinic, and interviews during the two hour event.
Morgan County’s girls brought in their three senior guards of Lou Reid, Miranda Powell, and Victoria Chapman. The boys were represented by another set of three senior guards; Stevin Green, Tyrin Lawrence, and Alec Woodard. Boys’ coach Jamond Sims was unable to make the trip, but lead assistant William Whetstone came in his absence to talk about the boys. Coach Josh Reeves, in his 13th season, came with his team reps.
Reeves started the conversation off. He said, “Practice has gone well. We started a week earlier, but sometimes didn’t have a place to practice. Volleyball was still going on, the old gym is being torn down, and our new practice facility isn’t completed. We thought we might have to go somewhere outdoors. Practice is going well despite some of those setbacks. Obviously, we are going to expect a lot from our three seniors, Lou (Reid), Miranda (Powell), and Victoria (Chapman), but beyond that we have a lot of depth on the perimeter. Shay Brown is a freshman who will contribute. She’s a ball hawk who gets a lot of offensive rebounds. Of course Taylor Wilson and Tamia Benford will play big minutes again for us. We don’t have a lot of size, but Neshay Cobb and Courtney Elder (two of our hardest workers) as well as Miracle Hunter will hold down the inside for us. There will be times when we play some four-out with four guards as well as some high-low sets with a guard.”
Reid said that practices are going well, “We’re dedicated to pushing ourselves and being committed to our teammates. We should have a pretty decent season and a very successful run in the playoffs. Even though we’re small, we’re getting good ball movement and getting in shape to press and run. It will also be important to focus on our defensive footwork and boxing out.” Powell chimed in with these words, “I just hope we can play together as a team and fill in the spots for a lack of bigs when needed and use our quickness to our advantage. If we play together, we can be very successful.” Chapman finished up the interview by saying, “It will be different for me if I’m starting. I was a sub last year. I just have to push myself and my teammates.”
The boys and Coach Whetstone were just as positive about their season as the girls. They all agreed that practices were going well with leadership being one of their main roles this season. Green commented, “There’s been a lot of competing, running, and energy.” Lawrence noted, “We’re all three trying to help teach the younger guys our system.” Woodard said, “We’re just trying to get better day-by-day and work hard each day.”
Woodard has already committed to Austin Peay University while Green has been getting several looks from college coaches mentioning Columbus State as a possibility. Lawrence has not committed at this point. He said, “I’m not rushing anything. I’m just looking for the right fit and to hopefully find the right school.”
Whetstone talked about his three seniors and practices. “It’s going well. We’ve tasked these three guys to take over the leadership roles, slow things down, and help the younger kids with what they need to do. At the same time, Coach Sims and I are trying to keep practices competitive and flowing at a good pace. Our focus during the first seven or eight practices has been defense. We are a defensive oriented team. These guys are going to score points. We have to make sure we can stop other teams from scoring.”
The loss of KJ Wyatt to a football injury will be hard to replace and Jordan Huff may leave early for Georgia Tech. Freshman Desmond White will be a newcomer to the varsity as well as 6-8 transfer Nolan Causwell. Losses to graduation included Anthony Cooper. His shoes will be hard to fill.
Woodard said it best with, “We want to play in the last game of the season.”