2012-13 Basketball: Carson boys preview
By Ronnie Gallagher
CHINA GROVE — When asked about last year’s 7-18 record, Carson boys coach Brian Perry smiled and said, “We’re trying to forget about that.”
That could be easy to do considering many of those young players are now considered veterans.
“We were really young,” Perry admitted, noting he started three sophomores. “We had issues with turnovers and were overwhelmed in a few games. We didn’t respond well to adversity. It wasn’t an issue of not competing. It was just mental mistakes.”
This year, thanks to weight-room time with assistant Andre McCain, the Cougars are more confident.
“You can tell,” Perry said. “We’re a little stronger and a little bigger. Being physical will help us. The future is bright for this group.”
You must start with 5-foot-9 junior guard Tre Williams, a three-year starter. He had games of 22, 23 and 25 last year.
“The game will slow down for him so much,” Perry said. “He’s a very heady player who’s deceptive with his quickness.”
An all-county guard after averaging 13.4 points, Williams is doing a better job of getting other people involved.
“Tell him what you want in the flow of the game and he’ll manipulate that,” Perry said.
Another impressive junior is 6-6 Colton Laws, who has put on about 20 pounds. He liked to face the basket last year but he can bully inside now. Laws came on strong at the end of last year, scoring double figures in six of his last eight games, including outings of 25 and 26. He was all-county with his 13.1 average.
“With the added strength, he’ll be more inside than last year,” Perry said. “Colton can be a pretty good mismatch. He’s smart enough to score over them and skilled enough to take them outside.”
The third sophomore is burly Myquon Stout, a defensive lineman in football.
“He’s definitely a banger,” grinned Perry. “He’s a great leader and a great kid. He handles his business down low. He’ll give you some stickbacks, hit some jumpers on the elbow and he’s the best we’ve got at taking a charge.”
Senior D.J. Love is a 5-11 guard who saw plenty of time last year.
“He can score 15, 16 points on a given night,” Perry said. He’s got a nice shot. We’re looking for a big year out of him.”
Sophomore Jacob Raper, at 5-9, played on varsity as a freshman and Perry says his shot is better.
“He’s having great practices,” Perry said. “He has matured. He can play point guard or the 2.”
Malachi Parker is an interesting story. The senior started the season with a 10-point effort in the opener but three games later was out with an ACL tear in his knee.
“It’s good,” Perry said of the knee. “He’s back to 100 percent and obviously excited to be back out there. He’ll give us leadership. He just needs to get back in the groove and adjust back to the speed of the game.”
Marquez McCain has a ton of talent. The 5-11 sophomore didn’t play last year but has been impressive.
“He’s a great athlete,” Perry praised. “He is tremendous at getting to the rim and he has a nice pull-up jump shot. He’ll add something to the team.”
Rameiq Howard, a 6-2 senior, had to adjust last year after moving in from South Carolina.
“He’s a different player this year,” Perry said. “He has a nice touch and decent moves in the post.”
Andrew Purcell, a senior, sat out two years but is back. Andrew Hower is a 6-1 junior and Jeremy Leget, a 5-11 junior, will come off the bench.
“Hower has great jumping ability and his shot is a lot better,” Perry said.
It all adds up to a ton of potential and a turnaround in that record.
“We will handle the ups and downs of the game,” said Perry. “We’ll score a little better. We’ll be OK defensively. I think we’ve got a chance to be pretty good. I’m as excited about this team as I have been in a while.”
In other words, what a difference a year makes.