Without a senior on last year's team, Putnam City brings back loads of experience.
David Bush and Ronnie Boyce each averaged better than 15 points per game and will be one of the top guard combos in the state this season.
“We're comfortable with each other, but we want to be the best we can, and we're not playing to our potential yet,” said Bush, one of the quickest guards in the state. “As a team, we need to play better defense all the time.”
The Pirates lack size, so the interior play of center Orlando Goldsmith will be key, along with Bernard Gainey and RichMarr Smith, both of whom are under 6-foot-3.
“I have to be physical and play with muscle,” Goldsmith said. “I've got to pull boards, get loose balls and those things that the team needs.”
DIFFERENT LOOK AT DEL CITY
The season has started rough for Del City after opening as the coaches' preseason No. 1 in Class 5A.
But an early loss to Moore hasn't diminished expectations for the Eagles.
Guard Brett Cannon is back to full health from the broken wrist that kept him out of the state tournament, and former Putnam City guard Stephen Edwards moved in, giving the Eagles a dangerous backcourt combo.
Cannon says the team will have a different look, too.
“We've had a lot of additions to the team,” said Cannon, a junior. “We've had guys who moved in from California, some football players come out, like Corey Lawrence.
“We're a completely different team.”
LATE START FOR DOUGLASS
In the last few seasons, the majority of the Douglass basketball team was in the gym long before football season ended, but this year was very different for first-year coach Anthony Andrews.
Of course, Andrews got the football players earlier than he expected, with their unexpected first-round exit from the playoffs.
“Of our top 15 guys, 13 were on the football field,” Andrews said. “We were disappointed for the football team, but it helped us out.
“Things are going well, and we're ready to go.”
Aside from star point guard Stephen Clark, the Trojans return DeAngelo Smith and Deondre Clark among their experienced players, and will benefit from the arrival of Trevon Threatt, who moved in from Centennial.
MILLWOOD BACK IN MIX
The Millwood Falcons are right where they always seem to be — as one of the favorites in Class 3A.
With several returning players, like Chris Crook and Cameron Batson, joined by an influx of young talent, the Falcons will be one of the top contenders to try to end Centennial's run at a third consecutive state title.
DALE SEEKING ANOTHER STATE TRIP
Evan Anderson's career is bound for the pitching mound, but he'll try to guide Dale back to the state tournament in basketball as a senior.
The 6-foot-5 Anderson signed with Ole Miss and could be one of the state's first high school players taken in the Major League Baseball draft next summer.
But the Pirates have some basketball work at hand, and Anderson will play a key role in the paint after missing much of the season with an injury.
The Pirates also return Jace Wilkins at point guard among four returning starters in all.
“Our baseball team just won a state championship, so we're hoping that will carry over,” coach Jeff Edmondson said. “We want to win one, too.”