Experienced Greenville squad eyeing postseason run

Published 3:01 pm Friday, November 8, 2013

There’s reason to be optimistic at Greenville High School.

The Tigers are building on a season in which they won 15 games and advanced to the sub-region tournament for the first time since 2009.

They return four starters from that team.

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The Tigers also have one of the deepest benches in recent memory with nine players that have logged considerable minutes during the last three seasons.

It would appear that Greenville has all the necessary ingredients to make another postseason run. But third-year head coach Richard Kelly knows that there is a lot of basketball to be played before February rolls around.

“We have got to be able to manage our expectations inside of our locker room both as individuals and a team,” Kelly said.

That’s not to say there aren’t high expectations entering the season.

“We have set a standard for high expectations in all sports at Greenville,” Kelly said. “The hunger that these young men have to be successful is what is going to drive this team. I do not see (the expectations) as a distraction. We have a humble locker room.”

While Kelly said the team is ahead of where it was at this point a year ago, he knows the Tigers must continue to improve and peak at the right time if they hope to make a run at the Class 5A championship.

“I don’t want this team where I want them until February,” he said.

With five seniors and nine juniors on the roster, Kelly should have plenty of help keeping the Tigers focused.

“I have never been more excited to coach a group of young men as I am this team,” he said. “The senior leadership is where I want it, and that allows us to mesh well with the newcomers. It’s been a pleasure to see the continuity of everything.”

On the court, the Tigers will continue to play an up-tempo brand of basketball that Kelly has employed since he took over the program in 2011.

Two Tigers will be charged with making the Greenville offense go.

Junior Tevin Burns and senior DeBryant Crenshaw will share point guard duties.

Burns averaged 10 assists and 8 points per game last season.

“The development and depth at the point guard spot is a strength,” Kelly said. “We’re very talented there.”

Burns and Crenshaw will have plenty of help on the offensive end of the court.

Last season, junior guard Javarrius Cheatham averaged 18 points and 8 rebounds a contest, while senior forward Marvin Davidson recorded 10 points and 8 rebounds a contest.

In the post Kelly will depend on Marvin Davidson, sophomore Marlon Davidson, who averaged 10.6 rebounds per game last season, and senior Lavarus Peagler.

“We have depth in the post,” Kelly said.

The Tigers are hoping to their experience adds up to wins.

“(Last season) allowed us to see the high standard that it takes to play at (a playoff level) when it relates to the success late in our season,” Kelly said. “We now know how hard that we must work to get to (advance to the region tournament and beyond).”

Greenville will open its season Nov. 23 on the road against Calhoun High School. The game is slated to begin at 7:30 p.m.