2012-13 Prep Basketball: South Rowan boys preview
By Ronnie Gallagher
LANDIS — Bryan Withers has a state championship on his resume from his days of playing at Salisbury High School.
He’s not predicting anything like that just yet after taking over the boys basketball program at South Rowan, but he can predict he’ll try his best to change the mindset of the Raiders, who haven’t won much over the past few years. They were only 8-18 last year and haven’t had a winning season since 2006 when they were 13-12.
“The mentality of the players has to change,” said Withers, who takes over for John Davis. “It’s part of our job to change it.”
South has lost a lot of close games. There has been some extremely bad luck.
“We have to take losses and build from them,” Withers said. “Correct the mistakes and move on.”
Withers, who was the jayvee coach, will lean on senior returnee Josh Medlin, who was all-county last season, averaging 12.8 points. The 6-foot-2 wing will also play power forward to create matchup problems.
“I expect him to have his best year,” Withers said. “He brings so much to the team.”
Medlin scored at least 19 points in eight games last year. He can score from anywhere.
“He’s very versatile,” Withers said. “He can step out and shoot the three and he can slash to the basket. As a leader, he won’t say a lot. He lets his play lead.”
If Medlin is double-teamed, he can dish it outside to long-ranger gunner Shawn Spry, a 5-11 junior.
Spry averaged 8.8 points and that can increase with added confidence. He showed flashes of being a star with 19 against Carson.
“He can really shoot the ball,” Withers said, “but he’ll surprise people how he gets to the basket. We’re working hard on his decison-making.”
Tvadis Wesley may burst onto the scene. The 6-3 transfer from Salisbury can play anywhere from small forward to center.
“He’s the most athletic kid we have,” Withers said. “He really gets to the basket and he finishes with authority.”
Eric Goldston is a junior point guard off the jayvee team.
“He was a good player for me last year,” Withers said.
Two key players, Nathan Lambert and Lavon Hill, won’t be available until January. The 6-2 Lambert, a good rebounder, broke his leg during football season and had eight screws inserted. Hill, a 6-5 sophomore who Withers really likes, had open-heart surgery.
“His game has developed,” Withers said of Hill. “He’s a better swingman.”
Senior Jacob Ouelette, at 6-4, must step up early.
“Along with the young big men, he’ll have to stand in for Nathan and Lavon,” Withers said.
Withers has turned to 5-8 senior guard Eric Tyler for leadership. A good 3-point shooter, Tyler can increase his 3.2 average.
“He’s a real good player,” Withers said. “He keeps the team under control. And he’s our leader, whether he’s on the floor or not.”
Withers also likes 5-11 junior Dominique Garlin, a wing player.
“He’s real athletic,” Withers said. “He’s come a long way learning the game. Being a senior, it has made him work harder.”
Two big men off the jayvees are 6-3 Brock Miller and Dalton Carter, both juniors. “Both play with their backs to the basket,” Withers said. “Both are working extremely hard and both are getting better.”
Also on the varsity are 5-9 sophomore guard Chandler Corriher and 6-2 Christian Holbrook.
“Both guys are shooters,” Withers said. “The biggest thing with them is giving them the confidence to take shots.”
Withers will learn more about his team as the season progresses. He got a late start.
“I didn’t have the summer to work with the guys,” he said.
While he tries to change the mindset, he also has to change his. Coaching jayvee is a little different. It’s not so much about winning, he said, as stressing fundamentals. And he developed a team that lost only one game, to undefeated Statesville, last year.
“I’ve had to slow myself down,” Withers said. “The season isn’t over in the five games before the Christmas tournament. I want to develop the players so we can have a program. We’re going to try and make other teams as uncomfortable as possible and get after you on defense. I have to supply the guys with energy.”
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