2011-12 Basketball: Davie County boys preview

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 22, 2011

By Brian Pitts
Davie Enterprise Record
Last year the Davie varsity boys basketball team went 19-6 and tied for second in the rugged Central Piedmont 4-A Conference, posting the first winning season in six years, the most wins in 11 years and the third-most wins in the schoolís 55 years. Davie ended an 0-16 streak against CPC nemesis Mt. Tabor and won a first-round playoff game at Smith.
With four starters back, it may very well be that you ainít seen nothiní yet. The War Eagles havenít won a conference title since 1970. But this is the season coach Mike Absher and the War Eagles have been building for and waiting for.
ěIt is different,î Absher, Davieís 10th-year coach, said. ěThe great thing is they donít want to hide from it. They understand thereís obviously a high expectation. We approach it that you take it one day at a time. Letís just get better today. We do talk about that thereís a place we want to be, but itís not going to happen between now and Christmas. Itís going to be a day-to-day process.î
The four returning starters – Shannon Dillard, Nate Jones, Caleb Martin and Cody Martin – all have freakish athletic ability. There will be many games in which Davie will be throwing down dunks every few seconds.
Dillard is a 6-4, 185-pound center who averaged 17.5 points last year. He had three 30-point outings and 17 double-doubles.
The No. 1 scorer from last year, Jones (19.4 ppg), is back. He showed heís the real thing when he put up 36, 38 and 30 points in consecutive CPC games. Jones soars over the trees as easily as he rains 3s.
ěHeís just not in basketball shape yet (after an all-CPC football season),î Absher said. ěThat three-game stretch with (three 30-point games) is the best thing Iíve seen in my 10 years here, and it was in the middle of the CPC season. I mean it was from making 3s to driving to scoring off his defense. In consecutive individual performances, that was unreal. Think about it: It was against Tabor, Reynolds and West Forsyth.î
ěCody is becoming more of a slasher, and heís going to play inside a little more,î Absher said. ěHeís more of a 3-4, but he can play 2. Cody could play 5. Caleb is probably a 1, 2 or 3. Their size is one reason theyíre getting great looks because they could play 2 or 3 in college. I think theyíre both better shooters than they were a year ago, and they should be really tough on the wings defensively.î
The point guard is senior Davis Absher, the coachís son. His job is to set up the offense and keep the scorers happy.
ěIím asking for him to be our leader and distribute the ball,î his father said. ěHe knows whatís around him. He just needs to make enough shots to keep everybody honest.î
Kenyon Tatum, a 6-3 post player, will play a more prominent role after seeing limited time as a freshman.
ěKenyon is five times better than he was a year ago,î Absher said. ěHeís finishing at a much higher percentage. Heís making moves he would have never made a year ago. Heís just reacting more and not having to think so much.î
Absher has two shooters who will be competent backups: Senior Kevin Miller and sophomore Peyton Sell.
ěConfidence-wise, I think Miller will be different when he takes the court because heís worked hard in the weight room, and I think that gives kids a lot of confidence,î he said. ěSell is a very good spot-up shooter. Heís going to have to get stronger and quicker, but heís a guy now that can make open shots.î
Sophomore Ben Beeson is a backup point guard who drew high praise from Absher.
ěHe is the definition of a point guard,î he said. ěI love that about him. He has the true mentality of a point guard.î
Senior Adam Smith and junior Kurtis Banner are complementary pieces.
ěBanner and Smith went into the game together one time last week in a scrimmage, and the defensive intensity picked up a lot,î he said. ěIf somebody on the other team is hurting us, Banner could go in and lock them down for 90 seconds or two minutes. He has a great work ethic.î
Smith is coming off a sensational football season at quarterback. His athleticism will allow him to be a factor even if he doesnít score.
ěWe wanted him to play last year, but Adam wanted to do indoor track and we respected that completely,î he said. ěYou canít put a value on leadership and maturity. I was ecstatic when he said he wanted to play. Adam and Kurtis are so quick they make the other guys better.î
Chris Campbell is a junior post player who will back up Dillard, Tatum and Cody.