|Twister head coach believes sales pitch better for 2011-12 |
|Posted: Thursday, November 17, 2011 7:03 pm |
|By MIKE HUTCHENS |
Messenger Sports Editor
Shane Sisco, the basketball coach, admittedly failed as a salesman last season.
He has a new approach this year, and he believes a better product.
“We just could never get them to buy what we were selling,” the veteran Union City boys head coach said, when referring to last season’s 15-19 squad that was his first in 12 campaigns at the school to not have a winning record. “That falls on me. It was very disappointing.
“I felt like we had a good enough group to get back to the state tournament, but it seemed like we had something different every day — be it injuries or discipline issues or other things. We never could develop any consistency. The biggest thing, though, is that the effort was inconsistent. We’ve never had that problem here before.”
Sisco, who has led the Purple and Gold to two of its five state championships in a glorious history, insists that won’t be a problem this season.
“We’ve turned the page and hopefully learned from last year,” he said. “We’ll be young and inexperienced, but we’re really trying to be positive on a daily basis and I believe we’re going to get better as the season progresses.
“The potential to be good is there.”
Despite last season’s disappointing results, the Tornadoes — who had won 20 or more games in nine of Sisco’s previous 11 seasons — were still just a close loss away in the regional semifinals from advancing to the sectionals. That team also handed Lake County a lopsided loss in January that proved to be the Falcons’ last setback of the season before they went on to claim the Class 1A state title.
Four seniors, led by Antonio Cox’s 22 ppg scoring clip, graduated and took with them 54 points-per-game on average of the 63 that UC scored on a nightly basis in 2010-11.
There does appear to be a good blend of experience and promise on this year’s roster, though.
Sophomore guard Jamie Hyde, who started several games last season, swingman Chris Boucher and leading rebounder Peyton Mosley (9 per-game) are the veterans of the bunch. Meanwhile, a trio of talented freshmen (Marcus DeBerry, Malik Stockdale and Donte Simpson), who led the Union City Middle School program to an unbeaten season and the West Sectional championship a year ago, seemingly have unlimited potential and will be factors immediately.
Perhaps more important, however, will be the contributions of South Fulton transfer Tre Lewis, a battle-tested point-guard who brings both leadership and maybe the skills to make him the best overall player on this year’s UCHS club.
Hyde (5-8), Lewis (6-0, Sr.) and Simpson (5-10) will rotate at the guard spots with Sisco expecting good things from them all. Hyde’s overall game has reportedly improved significantly, while Lewis’ best attribute may be his finishing abilities at the rim. And Simpson could already be the team’s best offensive rebounder.
Boucher (6-1, Sr.) and DeBerry (6-2) — along with LaMonte Dickerson (5-9, Jr.) — will all get minutes at the three-spot. Sisco said Boucher is fundamentally sound and a good defender, while DeBerry has good range and is a pure shooter. Dickerson brings great energy and enthusiasm to the mix.
Stockdale (5-11) and Khiry Lewis (5-11, Jr.) — Tre’s younger brother — are ticketed for time at the power forward spot. Stockdale only recently returned to practice after having surgery for a hole in his heart in Oct.
Mosley (6-4, Sr.) gives the Tornadoes a legitimate inside presence on both ends at center and has great ability to finish plays, his coach stated. He’ll be spelled by Nick Crumble (6-1, Sr.) and Marquille Spears (6-3, Jr.).
Sisco intends to employ the run-and-gun style that has served the Tornadoes so well during the program’s glory days. The coach believes a deep roster, defensive promise and overall athleticism could put Union City in the thick of the race of rugged District 14A that includes always-talented Humboldt, along with reigning single-A titleist Lake County.
“We’ll be athletic in spots, and I believe our defensive pressure will get us back to playing the transition game,” he said. “When you play good defense, you give yourself a change every night and we’ve stressed that. And that we weren’t that good in that area last year is a reason I think we struggled so much.
“Fundamentally, I feel like we’re improved but, more than anything, I like our personality and our work ethic.”
The Tornadoes open their 2011-12 campaign tonight at home against Chester County in the first of two Hall of Champions games. UC plays at county-rival Obion Central on Saturday.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Published in The Messenger 11.17.11