By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Calling all seniors!
Tipton-Rosemark Academy Rebels Head Coach David Hunt enters year two with a roster loaded with upperclassmen. Hunt is ready to hand the controls on the floor to 12th graders Johnie Sanfratello, Ryan Duffy, Darien Weakley, AJ Hightower, Preston Trainor, Tino Garibay and Garrett Knight.
“I do have some experience,” Hunt noted. “I did lose five seniors from last year with four of them starting most of the year — Conner Sanders, Gil Erwin, Nathan Whitley and Logan Stewart.”
Hunt said a couple of underclassmen like junior Shelden Spence and Tucker Pittman will be counted on to contribute in the mix.
“We’re going to be very senior heavy,” Hunt said. “Those seven seniors will be in our top eight or nine. We have eight freshmen, but they’ll be dressing for junior varsity.”
The point guard in rotation for the 2015-16 Rebels will be Johnie “Basketball” Sanfratello.
“He had a great summer,” Hunt said. “He played AAU ball for a very good team. He traveled around all summer and he’s been working on his game all fall. So me personally, I’m expecting big things from him. Last year he averaged 16 points a game. He loves it and he works hard. He’s going to be a big part of what we do offensively.”
Sanfratello will try to get teammates like Hightower, Weakley and Duffy involved. The leader of the Rebels has expressed to his two forwards and guard he expects their scoring to increase.
Defensively, Trainor will be counted on to help shut down the opposition’s best player.
“He’s probably our hardest worker,” Hunt noted. “Defensively he can shut somebody down.”
The seniors have to gel in time for league play with the defending State champion in their backyard.
“With St. George’s winning State last year, they’re a good place to start,” Hunt said. “They seem to be at he top just about every year. USJ is going to be good. Of course they’ve got Clayton Hughes who already signed D-I. They have some good guards to go around him. Fayette is going to be better.
“I told my guys, ‘I know our league is tough,’” he continued. “‘And we’re playing Harding, ECS, FACS and Northpoint all from the other league.’ We have a really tough schedule this year.”
TRA will host Regionals this year and the Rebels plan on being a big part of the festivities.
“I told my guys, if we work hard and we are good fundamental team, with the talent we have we can compete with the best,” Hunt concluded. “If we don’t’ work hard, are lazy and not well fundamental, it can be a long season.”