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Optimistic Frazier believes new day is dawning at SF

Optimistic Frazier believes new day is dawning at SF
South Fulton boys’ basketball coach Keith Frazier knows his task by now.
Coming into his third season at the program’s helm, Frazier sports a 4-44 record with his squads falling in the play-in portion of the District 14-A Tournament and winning just a pair of games during each of his two campaigns.
Still, Frazier sees a light at the end of the tunnel for the once-proud Red Devils and he is optimistic that it will begin to shine this season.
One thing is for sure, a pair of players that were bright spots for SF last season are now gone. Leading scorer David Shepherd graduated and forward Hunter Harris was lost when his family moved to Covington.
Furthermore, senior Holden McConnell, a three-year starter for the South Fulton program, elected not to play this season.
With those losses out of the way, Frazier still believes that his team can finally break through and take a step in the direction of returning the SF boys’ team to its glory of years past.
“We’re wanting to make it to the regional tournament this year,” Frazier said. “In order to do that, we’ll have to finish in the top four in this district and that won’t be easy against the competition we have to face night-in and night-out.
“But I believe that if we can protect our homecourt and win as many games as we can at home and go .500 on the road that our goal is obtainable.”
Working to that goal for the Red Devils is a starting five that boasts of some hardwood experience, but is untested in contested battles.
At forward is South Fulton’s best returning performer from last season. Jonathan Avent (Jr., 6-0) will be called upon to use his frame that Frazier describes as “both bigger and faster than a year ago” to padden his eight points per game that he averaged as a sophomore.
Avent is fresh off football season and Frazier is also hopeful that the rejuvenation enjoyed on the gridiron by many of those players that also play basketball will roll over onto the court.
Joining Avent at one of the other forward positions is Jacob Wade (Soph., 6-2). He came on late in the season as a key reserve for the Red Devils last season and he impressed Frazier enough with his summer play to earn a starting nod.
Also beneficial for SF is the fact that Wade has grown a couple inches since last season.
At the third forward slot is Hunter Allen (Jr., 5-9).
Allen is lauded by Frazier as “a gritty player that may not be the biggest on the court but isn’t afraid to mix it up with anyone.”
In the middle for the Red Devils is center George Garmon (Sr., 6-5), who will look to shake off any rust he may have accumulated by sitting last season out.
Obviously, the biggest man on the court for South Fulton, Frazier has been very impressed by Garmon’s leaping ability and the fact that he uses his long arms wisely to make blocks and pull in steals.
Rounding out the starting five for SF is point guard Drew Greer (Sr., 5-8). He has improved his ball-handling skills from a year ago, according to Frazier, and he is also becoming one of the team’s leaders behind the scenes.
The senior will be looked upon to handle the fullcourt pressure employed by many of the Red Devils’ District 14A foes and get the basketball down the court safely.
“That’s one of the challenges we have,” Frazier said. “We know there’s going to be a lot of pressure and some of the teams in this district have more players who don’t play football. We hope we’re not too far behind on the learning curve as some of our players have to switch gears back to basketball.”
Coming off the bench, Frazier expects Montre Lewis (Fresh., 5-9) to be one of his key substitutes as a guard. Frazier labels Lewis as a good ball-handler and passer who needs to work on his shot at the high school level.
Also rotating in for SF is Alex Gallien (Soph., 6-1).
To the surprise of few, Gallien — who rumbled as a fullback for the football team — doesn’t mind mixing it up on the hardwood either, according to Frazier.
Yet another option on the bench for South Fulton is Kendall Greer (Fresh., 5-10). Greer is unproven in the high school ranks just like his classmate Lewis, but Frazier is hoping he can step up his game and build upon his above-average boxing out skills.
“I’m challenging some of our team, both the older and younger players, to step up to the plate,” Frazier said. “Right now, I’m satisfied with what I’ve seen and I hope we can continue to develop depth as the season goes on and get more players involved on the court.”
The SF boys kick off their season tonight with a TSSAA Hall of Fame game at Westview.
Sports reporter Kenneth Coker can be contacted by e-mail at kcoker@ucmessenger.com.

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