• Bill Caine, Woodford Sun Staff

WCHS Boys' basketball preview

The Woodford County High School boys' basketball team is taking shape heading into their fourth week of full practices. The team will feature many new faces receiving playing time this year with seven seniors graduating last year. The team has surprised the coaches with how they have quickly come together to bond and work together as a group.

“We have a group of guys who really enjoy to be around each other and that makes it really easy to coach,” said coach Ryan Wilson. “They like to play around and have fun but at the same time they know when to straighten up and get serious.”

The Jackets are looking to feature a motion offense that will rely on timing and shooting accuracy to execute their game plan. Wilson has picked up on some of the guys taking more of a leadership role and the maturity on the court will lead to more team success.

“We have gotten to the point that I can back off at practice because the guys know what I am looking for,” said Wilson. “I don't have to ride them about what I expect, they already know. “

The life of a student-athlete is a demanding one. The players are at school all day then have homework and follow that with practice in the gym until 8:30 every night. Wilson preaches that his guys have to be students first and athletes second.

“Academically we excel in the classroom,” said Wilson. “ Last year our GPA was a 3.31 and we push for better every day. Many of the kids are taking AP courses and involved in other community activities at their churches or volunteering. Nothing we do matters if our grades are sub-par.”

The Jackets will be looking to Junior guard Brandon Cromwell to continue his success from last season. Cromwell averaged ten points a game for the Jackets a season ago and averaged 32.5 percent from the three-point line. Cromwell is known for being a pitbull on the soccer field and his basketball game presents the same intensity.

“When you have a guy like Brandon who has a motor that doesn't ever stop, you find anywhere and everywhere to put him on the floor,” said Wilson. “We will not be the biggest team on the floor and we will need the attitude and the fearless mentality that Cromwell brings to the court to combat the lack of size on the court.”

The coaches will rely on the guys who have played varsity minutes to provide leadership this season with many inexperienced players that will suit up for the Jackets. The team will likely add a few more players when football season comes to a close and those players are eligible to play basketball.

“Corey George is one of those guys who just has a knack for finding the ball,” said Wilson. “He keeps plays alive by getting a hand on the ball or just being able to grab that rebound. Guys like that who can seek out the ball are so valuable to a basketball team. I bet you he gets four or five guys extra shots because of his ability to tap a ball back to someone when he's unable to grab the rebound. My goal for Corey is to make him a top ten rebounder in the state of Kentucky.”

“Nick Smith is currently our lone senior and is extremely gifted athletically and still working on how to fit within the offense. I am looking forward to seeing what he does this year. Anthony Tabor will be a sophomore point guard. He didn't play much last year but he watched and learned. Anthony is a true point guard and he sees the floor really well. He's a good floor general and knows what plays to call and takes care of the ball and that is what we need.”

The Jackets are optimistic about the season ahead. Wilson feels he has 12-13 guys he can put on the floor in any combination and make it work. The Jackets will open regular season play at home against Dunbar on Monday, November 27.

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