Categorized | Sports

Cougars blending classes in 2016-1

By Thomas Sellers Jr.

Deon Banks

Deon Banks

Ryan Ross’ first season at Munford say some positive moments.
The Cougars pulled off some upsets on the court and a pair of players signed to play college basketball. Ross said farewell to the duo of Queyon Mills and Alex Jones. Also the Class of 2016 included another of Munford’s top three scorers in Domonique Bell. Ross and the Cougars lost 85 percent of their scoring.
“We did lose our top three,” Ross acknowledged. “It’s going to be hard replacing Queyon, Alex and Domonique. They did a lot for us. We do have a lot of guys who played a lot of basketball coming back.”
The 2016-17 Cougars will feature a quartet of seniors including Deon Banks and Patrick Smith.
“Those are the four guys who we’re really going to lean on,” Ross noted. “They played a whole lot of minutes for us last year. Now they are in a much bigger role than they were in last year. They’re expected to do a lot more.
“They are going from role players to the guys,” he added. “It’s going to be a process early on. I like the steps they’ve shown and they’re getting better at it everyday. They’ll have to be a lot more aggressive.”
Ross said his seniors have to be leaders this season with a large group of sophomores coming up behind them. Last season Mills was a leader and primary ball handler.
“Deon Banks will be our point guard,” Ross said. “But it will be more of a point guard by committee type of thing. If we’re getting heavy pressure from someone, we may give it to the person who is maybe not getting as much pressure instead of just giving it to one guy all the time and letting him handle it.”
The guards will try to get the ball inside to players like Smith and sophomore James Farrow.
“We are senior and sophomore heavy,” Ross said. “We’re going to start at least one sophomore, maybe two. Pretty much everyone off the bench will be a sophomore. A lot of talent in that class. They’re going to go through some growing pains being thrown into the fire. But we really like that class.”
Ready to provide a challenge to the Cougar sophomores are Brighton, Hardin County and Dyer County in District 13-3A.
“Brighton and Dyer County are certainly going to be good,” Ross said. “But we expect to be right there. We’re going to come in every game expecting to win. I think our guys are going to have the realization of what its going to take. Those are two certainly good teams.
“But I think the league is going to have a lot of parody,” he continued. “It will be a lot like last years with the teams beating up on each other. Brighton with Taelyr Gatlin and Dyer County with Rico Quinton are certainly are extremely talented. We’re going to have to play well to beat those teams.”
Year two under Ross will be a year of growth for the Cougars.
“The first year you’re trying to get established,” he noted. “I think we’ll see our identity a lot more. We want to be, one, the first thing they say about us is how hard we play. Two is how tough we are. We want to be tough and physical. We want to take good shots. We’re going to be defensive minded.
“We want to get games in the half court,” Ross added. “We’re going to try to make them play  in the half court and play our kind of game. We want to make it a physical, grind it out kind of game.”
In year two under Ross, Munford will be featuring a new offense. So the Cougar faithful will see a new-look team on the court in 2016-17.
“What we really want to see is great team chemistry,” Ross concluded. “Which is going to take awhile because you’ve got that senior-sophomore gap. It’s really the first year they’ve really played together. That’s going to take a little time. By February, we want all that ironed out. We’ve made strides along the way.”

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