GHS Tigers have winning combination
Dominance by one player is no longer the case with Greenville High School's varsity basketball team.
The Tigers' gonto guy and leading scorer last season, Tresmendes McMeans, has graduated and moved on to the hardcourt at Auburn University at Montgomery.
Taking his place are his counterparts, seniors J.C. Anderson and Kendron Pate. It's now time to introduce Tiger fans to the dynamic duo. Bang! Slam! Swish!
Anderson, Greenville's 6nfootn1, 155 pound point guard will be looking to give the opposition fits this season with his quick feet and dominating hands. The 17nyear old attended a camp Down Under this summer and boomeranged back with a vengeance.
"J.C.'s by far our best defensive player," GHS Head Coach Randy Fullington said. "He's got a real good instinct for the ball, and gets his hands on the ball a lot defensively. He understands what I want done on the floor, so he's kind of the general of the floor. He's a good leader."
Fullington said Anderson's experience in Australia during the offseason has made him a much better player. He said the coaches at the camp played Anderson at different positions, which he believes has helped him understand the game better.
Anderson believes even though McMeans and four other seniors graduated last year, the Tigers will be successful this season if they work together as a team.
"I think we're going to have a better season than we did last year because we play better as a team this year," Anderson said. "Last year, we were keying on one player to do the work for us, but now everybody's real close and we depend on each other as a whole."
Anderson's main goal this season is to keep his team close together
"We've got to play as a team and have faith in our teammates," Anderson said.
Although Anderson has been known in the past for his defensive skills, Fullington believes Anderson's ability to dish the ball off has improved the most over the summer.
"His passing from last year to this year has probably improved 100 percent," Fullington said. "He sees the floor really well. He's one of our keys to success this year."
Not only does Fullington expect Anderson to help keep the team together on the court, but also off the court. As a captain, Fullington said Anderson's responsibilities far exceed the playing surface.
"I expect him to fill a leadership role on the team," Fullington said. "The kids look up to him because he's a good role model and a good example. He works hard at practice, never wines and complains, gets the job done and wants to win. The kids expect that out of him. I don't look for him to score a lot of points. I look for him to run the offense, and get everybody involved. I expect him to rack up in the assists column, and steals and deflections on defense."
Pate, the Tigers' 6nfootn5, 170 pound center, will dominate the boards for Greenville. Fullington believes some pointers from an NBA player might help Pate up his averages from last season.
"Kendron's one of the three keys on our team, just in experience," Fullington said. "He averaged right at 10 points per game and I'm expecting him to score between 14 and 16 points a game this season. He's our most experienced post man. He's not powerful and big, but he's quick for a taller guy.
He's come back a lot better and a lot more experience, and a little bit tougher."
Pate spent a lot of time this summer playing pick up games with Brantley resident and Memphis Grizzlies Forward Wesley Person, who gave the high schooler some pointers in shooting. Person led the NBA in three-pointers made in the 1997n98 season with 192.
"He (Person) gave me pointers on my shooting," Pate said. "Like the rotation of the ball. It helped out a lot. Last year, I wasn't that good of a shooter, but this year I can step out and take a shot, and work the postmen in and out."
Fullington said that Pate's not a power player, but should be a force for the opposition to reckon with.
"He's more of a finesse center," Fullington said. "He's got a nice outside shot. He can shoot anywhere from three feet to 19 feet out, which I like."
Pate agrees with Anderson and said the team needs to continue working as a cohesive group. He said working together will be key for the Tigers to find success this season. He added that if the team doesn't continue its teamwork, the team will not fall apart.
"We have teamwork this year," Pate said. "We pass the ball more often and hit the open man. It's not a onenman game anymore. I think we'll have a chance to beat any team we play."