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2012-13 Prep Basketball: A.L. Brown boys preview

By Ryan Bisesi
rbisesi@salisburypost.com
KANNAPOLIS – A.L. Brown coach Shelwyn Klutz enters his 16th season and his entire starting lineup is entering their fourth. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more adept collection of coaches and players in the area.
It’s an experienced bunch from top to bottom that all wear the same T-shirt. “One team, one dream.”
“We have the good fortune this year to have a lot of guys coming back who played last year,” Klutz said.
Brown will have a senior-laden top five as all five starters are seniors as well as three bench players. They all were part of a 16-10 team last year that fell in the first round of the playoffs. The year was highlighted by a 58-49 win against highly-ranked Concord at the end of the year to break a 19-game losing streak to their bitter rivals. The Wonders finished third in the SPC before falling to Charlotte Harding in the first round of the playoffs.
Coming into 2012-2013, Klutz has a better idea of where the team stands as he won’t have to wait until late November to purge the football team of its players. He likes what he’s seen in scrimmages against Richmond County and Marvin Ridge.
“In the past, we’ve always had so many guys that we’re waiting on because of football,” Klutz said. “This year we’ve got a core of guys that play only one sport.”
The high expectations will transfer over from the gridiron. The starting five consists of Derrick Copeland, Tevin Stark, Michael Carr, Braxton Waddell and Keeon Johnson. Copeland and Carr are sizeable guards that can score and dish. Copeland has 633 career points.
Stark was the leading scorer and a top rebounder last season despite missing eight games with an injury. When healthy, Stark is a commanding prescence on the floor.
“Tevin’s one of the most explosive athletes I’ve coached since I’ve been here,” Klutz said.
Stark and Copeland were All-South Piedmont Conference players with Stark averaging 16.8 points a game and Copeland averaging 15.7.
Johnson won’t be available until after he plays in the Shrine Bowl. A toe injury kept him out of a few football games, but Klutz expects the three-year varsity player to be ready early on for his squad.
Waddell (6-4, 185) is another three-year varsity player and averaged 11.3 points last year.
“He was probably our most steady player last year,” Klutz said. “He’s doing a much better job of attacking the basket this year.”
“I feel like we have quite a few guys that can score,” Klutz said. “The thing we have to buy into, and we’re not there yet, is that we have to play defense. Everybody has to defend. That’ll allow us to get out in transition and play the tempo we like.”
Demarreis Shepherd can provide quality minutes off the bench while 6-6 center Brandon Parker and 6-4 Adrian Addison can provide depth in the post.
“We’ve got some decent size,” Klutz said. “We’ve got to try and take advantage of that by getting it inside as much as possible.”
Concord will be there again and Klutz expects Cox Mill and Central Cabarrus to be factors in the SPC.
On Nov. 27 the Wonders start the season against Mooresville. They’ll play Lake Norman, South Rowan and East Rowan out of conference and will play in the CMC Northeast Holiday Classic at Cox Mill. Longtime assistant coach James Allen returns as does assistant Darren Ford.
Klutz jokes he’s getting near retirement age but as an experienced coach, he’s excited about the opportunity in front of him and his squad.
“It’s been 10 years since I’ve had so many seniors,” Klutz said. “I hope the guys realize for them that it’s their last chance and go out and leave it all on the court every practice and game.”

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