Starkville High School boys coach Greg Carter talks to his team during a timeout. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
It's an entirely new look for the Starkville Yellowjackets on the basketball court this season.
After losing players like Gavin Ware, Jacolby Mobley, Steven Brand and Mike Brand, who helped the Jackets make significant runs in the postseason the last three seasons, things are going to be different.
SHS boys basketball coach Greg Carter has found himself doing more teaching than normal with the players now on the roster.
"This year is definitely going to be a learning process because they are going to be put in positions they've never been put in before," Carter said. "None of them have a great deal of experience. Everything is going to be new to them."
There are only two senior Jackets this season with Revonte' Gandy and Avonte' Amos, neither contributed very much to the success of the squad the last couple of years.
Gandy, who is nursing an early-season injury, knows he's got to be productive when he becomes healthy.
"I've got to pick up the scoring from where they left off," Gandy said. "I've got to keep everybody together, keep a cool head and help everyone play at the same pace."
Along with Gandy and Amos, there are eight juniors looking for playing time with SHS.
There may be several upperclassmen on the roster, but Carter said they are at a disadvantage, because "they just haven't played."
Gandy doesn't claim to know everything, even as a senior.
"I can even learn from some of the sophomores coming up and they can learn from me as well," Gandy said.
For the Jackets to be successful, Carter said it's more important than ever to concentrate on his philosophy of defending, rebounding and taking care of the basketball.
"We've got to do those three things just to have an opportunity to win," Carter said. "That's got to be a constant, because there are going to be nights where the ball is just not going to go in as much as you would like, but defense has got to be more constant."
Despite the inexperience on this year's squad, Carter believes SHS can find itself in the postseason.
"As far as how deep we can go (in the playoffs) depends on how much we improve as the season goes on," Carter said. "It's definitely going to be a game-by-game process. We can't look too far ahead or point to things down the road at all."
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