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Back in familiar territory

By Thomas Sellers Jr.Basketball Preview TRA Rebels

All the Tipton-Rosemark Academy Rebels have to do is replace the school’s all-time leading scorer.
Gone is Matt “Moose” Moody and his 20.1 points, 3 assists, and 9.5 rebounds a game during his senior season. The man who will try to figure out how to start Rebel Basketball life post Matt Moody is new Head Coach David Hunt.
“It’s great to be here,” Hunt said. “It’s been great so far getting to know everybody and the players. It’s a great group of guys and looking forward to working with them.
“Of course we lost Moody who is at Freed-Hardeman playing,” he added. “He was a big part of their offense and game plan last year. They ran a lot of stuff through him. We don’t have a lot of size this year. We’re going to be guard oriented.”
Hunt noted the new-look Rebels will still have a post presence with Logan Stewart once he returns to the court from football season. But the 2014-15 TRA squad will depend on solid guard play and shooting for offensive production.
“Our point guard right now looks like it’s going to be Johnie Sanfratello,” Hunt noted. “Great player, he can shoot the ball. He can make plays in the lane penetrating. And he’s a good passer. I expect him to step up and he should have a great year this year.
“We also have Conner Sanders who is a good athlete,” he continued. “He played some last year. He’ll be our two-guard. Johnie and he will do a lot of our scoring from the outside.”
Sanfratello and Sanders will have to be consistent from perimeter this season.
“I think this year and my philosophy, we’ll be shooting a lot more three-pointers,” Hunt acknowledged. “We have two or three guys who can really shot it. A lot of our stuff will be ran to get guys open looks from the outside. Hopefully we’ll make a few of those to stretch out defense to get Logan Stewart, Ryan Duffy and Darren Wheatly in the post more open looks.”
Hunt said for those nights when the shots are not falling so frequently, the Rebels will rely on good defense and attention to details to stay in ball games.
“The No. 1 thing you’ll see is my team works hard,” Hunt said. “They’ve been working hard and that will be the main thing you’ll see, someone who works hard. No. 2 is great teammates. We’re definitely going to have to share the ball this year.
“It’s the type of team that could have one, two, three, maybe even five different leading scorers on a night,” he added. “So a group that works hard and works well even with or without the ball as a team.”
Hunt has been teaching and emphasizing hard work and team play for a decade across the Volunteer State. He started his teaching and coaching career in 2002.
Hunt comes to TRA from Summertown High School in Lawrence County, where he has coached for the past two years. Hunt’s coaching experiences include five years of middle school basketball, four years as a varsity assistant and three years as a head coach.
The new Rebel leader is from Nashville and played for Lipscomb University. During his coaching career, Hunt had a stop at nearby Fayette Academy from 2005-09.
Now he is preparing to take on the Vikings and other competition in Division II-A.
“They’re some great teams,” he noted. “You’ve got the St. George’s and the USJs who are loaded. You’ve got D-I players all over their rosters. Those two teams are going to be tough to beat. You have to play excellent basketball to able to compete with those guys.
“These guys have been working hard,” Hunt concluded. “That’s what we’ve been stressing, getting a little bit better each day. When you play with these age kids, you never know what’s going to happen. But if you keep working with them and putting things together, good things can happen.”

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