|Kail sees Rebels’ future in recent past |
|Posted: Friday, November 11, 2011 7:02 pm |
|By MIKE HUTCHENS |
Messenger Sports Editor
Bill Kail forecasts the future by comparing it to the past.
“This bunch reminds me an awful lot of the one we had with (Nick) Gilliam, (Brandon) Smith and (Brady) Boucher and (Brandon) King,” the Obion Central boys coach said in reference to the best of his five previous Rebel clubs in 2008-09 that compiled an 18-win season.
“We’ve got some kids capable of being those same type players in those same roles. If they can stay mentally focused, I think we can have similar success.”
OC is coming off a 12-17 campaign, one that saw Kail’s team make some strides at times and end up with district tournament victory.
Consistency and mental toughness, he says, will be telling if the Rebels are to both continue in the right direction and measure up to the results of the team three years ago that posted the program’s best record since 2001-02.
“We have good chemistry right now,” the coach said. “Talent-wise, we have a chance to surprise folks, I believe.
“One key is for us to get off to a good start. I think any confidence we can gain early will certainly be beneficial down the road as we get deeper into the season.”
Bryan Morris, a 6-2 junior small forward, is the team’s leading returning scorer at 9 ppg and has drawn comparisions from Kail to Gilliam — a four-year starter who was a member of the school’s 1,000-Point Club before graduating.
“He can play,” Kail said. “He can put the ball on the floor and get to the basket and he can pull up and shoot it. He can do it all, if he just stays focused.”
Eric Torres (Jr., 5-9) will run the club at the point after gaining valuable experience in the second half of last season.
He’ll be spelled on instances and share time with Union City transfer Shyheim Slayton, a 5-9, senior. Both are capable creators, with Torres a good passer, too.
Mike Klein, who came off the bench a year ago and shined as a 3-point shooting specialist, is locked in a battle with Coleman Dunn for playing time at the two-guard. Klein is 6-1, Dunn four inches shorter. Both are juniors.
Senior Drake Richards and junior Zach King — both 6-4 — will provide size inside and hopefully remind Rebel fans of the Boucher-King duo that gave Central scoring, rebounding and shot blocking presence inside a few years back.
Richards has been in and out of the starting lineup for parts of three seasons now, while King has grown considerably in the offseason.
“Even though all of them are juniors but Drake, they just have some of the same skill set that the team had three years ago,” Kail continued.
“And I hope that bodes well for next year, too. Before the really good senior year, that bunch was 15-11 as juniors.”
LaPrince Gauldin (6-0) is the other of Obion Central’s three seniors. He got minutes a year ago and was noted for his “playing hard” by Kail.
Shaw Logan (Jr., 5-9) and sophomore Dylan Caudle (5-10).
“We definitely have some potential,” Kail concluded. “I’m really excited about the year, and I think the biggest question for us is, can we keep our mental focus for four quarters?
“If we can, I like what I think we can do.”
The Rebels play their two county rivals in a pair of Hall of Champions games to open the season, hosting South Fulton on Tuesday, then Union City Nov. 19.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Published in The Messenger 11.11.11