Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Ashley Ridge basketball coaches have been hard at work this summer trying to figure out how to replace a sizeable group of 2013 graduates that helped build their program.
“We are young, but that’s exciting,” Swamp Fox coach Brian Welch said. “That group of seniors left some big shoes to fill but we’ve had some great competition this summer. Having guys who were so important to our team for five years move on has left things wide for other players.”
Losing so many key players is tough, but that doesn’t mean some good things can’t come from it.
“Having more guys move up to the varsity from the JV also opens up competition on the JV level,” Welch said. “Hopefully that will lead to better development. I think next year our depth will be better than it has been in the past.”
In addition to June practices, Swamp Fox coaches had a chance to size up team members during the Summerville High School summer tournament and at the Presbyterian College weeklong team camp.
“We played so many games against some good competition,” Welch said. “Plus we had the opportunity to bond and develop chemistry which is so important for a young team.”
There will be some familiar faces on the team this winter.
Sean White, the team’s second leading scorer from last season, will return for his senior season. Rising junior Tray Jenkins will also be relied on heavily while Don Smith and Andre Grant are hoping to see more action now that DJ Stevens, Romelo Doctor, Vernon Moree, Malik Graham, Fred Weeks and Mikey Goodwine have moved on.
Welch also has high hopes for players such as Tyquan Tucker, Tyler Garland and Brandon Brown, who are all in their first year with the varsity team.
“We are not a huge team, but we are scrappy,” Welch said. “We are kind of the unknown team but I like the aggressiveness I’ve seen this summer. It should be an exciting year for us all the way around. I think we are headed in a great direction.”
The work the team put in this summer is extremely valuable because nearly 80 percent of the team also plays football. That limits what the Swamp Fox coaching staff can get accomplished with fall workouts.
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