2011-12 Basketball: South Rowan boys preview
By Ronnie Gallagher
LANDIS ó The start of last season was a nightmare that didnít end for the South Rowan boys.
In the first three games of the season, the Raiders lost by one, four and three points.
Qua Neal then gave the Raiders something to hold their heads up about when he drained a bucket at the buzzer for a one-point win. The feeling didnít last. The next two games, South lost by five and three.
And so it went for the Raiders, who eventually lost 12 games by seven points or less and finished 6-17. Oh yeah, their last game of the season against West Iredell in the North Piedmont Conference tournament? Coach John Davis made all the right calls, South led for practically the entire game …. and lost by four due to unforced errors and missed shots.
Davis and the Raiders are tired of it and they want to make a statement this season, despite losing 31 points to graduation in Johnathan Gaddy and Mark McDaniel.
ěWeíre preaching mental toughness,î Davis said. ěWe want to push them over the barrier. If you think you wonít do it, you wonít. These kids expect to win. Thatís a change in mentality.î
Nealís game-winning shot against Cox Mill showed his potential. The 6-3 senior could have some 20-point games.
ěHeís one that will surprise a lot of people,î Davis said. ěHeís sneaky quick, heís got long arms and has a nice jumper.î
Davis will rely heavily on a junior class led by 6-foot-2 Josh Medlin. He was the third member of the team to average in double figures (10.2) and is one of 10 juniors on the roster.
Medlin can put the ball in the hoop as Mooresville found out. He scored the first 11 points in that one.
ěJosh needs to work on driving to the rim more and defense is where he has to get a lot better,î said Davis.
Another 6-2 junior, Nathan Lambert, will give South size underneath. His 3.3 average should increase.
ěHeís working harder in the block on his post moves,î Davis said.
Shawn Spry was on varsity as a freshman and is a good 3-point shooter. He scored 11 against East.
ěI was impressed with him over the summer,î Davis said. ěHeís much stronger and he is becoming a team leader.î
Junior Dillon Parker, at 6-3, will help in the post.
ěHeís much more confident,î Davis said. ěThe shot goes up and heís getting the rebound.î
Houston Allen is quite a story after spending his junior year on jayvee. He has grown a foot since entering high school and is now 6-5. He is a good shooter.
ěHe grew and his work ethic is better,î Davis said.
Eric Tyler is a scrappy 5-7 junior who can shoot the three.
ěIf heís on your team, you love him,î Davis smiled. ěIf heís not, you want to fight him. Heíll take the charge. You wonder if he isnít taking charges in the hallway.î
Drew Glenn and Dylan Goodman, are two 5-7 juniors up from jayvee.
ěGoodman can flat shoot the basketball,î Davis said. ěGlenn is a smart basketball player. The gameís slowing down for him a little.î
Junior Bonner Buchanan gives Davis a 6-6 guy who can shoot the three.
ěHeís a perimeter player,î Davis said. ěHeís got a lot of potential.î
Another big man is 6-5 junior Jacob Oulette, who is coming off jayvee. He broke his wrist last year around Christmas but is fine now. He has one of those Larry Bird step-back jumpers.
ěHe uses his height to get the ball over you,î Davis said. ěHeís more athletic than he looks.î
Being a former player himself, Davis loves Kenny Washingtonís old-school style. The 6-footer is smooth around the basket.
ěHeís got a great left-handed shot,î Davis said. ěWhen he releases it, itís going in.î
Dominique Garlin is another junior. At 5-10, he can do it all.
ěHeís one of those kids who plays great defense, battles for rebounds and has a great pull-up jump shot,î Davis said.
Davis kept freshman Robbie Sherrill, who stands 5-11.
ěHeís going to be great,î Davis predicted. ěHeís one of those kids whoís assertive. He plays well beyond his years.î
Itís nice to see height on the roster, thatís for sure. There wasnít much last year.
ěWe were Santaís helpers,î Davis said. ěNow, weíre a year older and a year stronger.î
In the North Piedmont Conference, Davis knows his team isnít thought to be a top-tier team. The Raiders want to prove the detractors wrong.
ěEverybodyís saying Statesville,î Davis said. ěWest is good with (Keshun) Sherrill and (Jarvis) Morgan. I donít see why we canít slide in there.î
With a little bit of luck, the Raiders wouldíve been in the upper echelon last season.
ěWe couldíve won 16, 17 games,î Davis said.
Perhaps this season, they will.