By Kai Raymer (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Get ready for a new-look Greenwood team that should be a major contender in Class 2.
The Blue Jays bring back three starters and add some enticing newcomers to the fold this winter.
“We return three starters and several lettermen that gained experience last season,” said Greenwood coach Darren Taylor. “With the addition of the players we have added to this team, we expect to have a successful season.
“We should be able to score if our defense develops. We could be a good team by the end of the year.”
It’s not every day that a five-star recruit transfers to your school, but that’s what Greenwood has with the addition of sophomore Aminu Mohammed.
The 6’5” guard and younger brother of current Missouri State player Kabir Mohammed will be a difference-maker for the Blue Jays.
Aminu averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds per game as a high school freshman. Both Rivals and ESPN rank him as a top-15 player in the Class of 2021.
“He’ll be an immediate-impact player and has the ability to play anywhere on the floor,” Taylor said.
Greenwood brings back a trio of senior starters in John Sharp, Garrett Litherland and Tate Dukewits.
Sharp averaged about 12 points per game last season. Litherland (9.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg) is Greenwood’s top returning rebounder.
“Sharp shoots about 40 percent from deep,” Taylor said. “Tate is a good team player doing whatever role is needed.”
Seniors Channing Carlson and Hayden Hopkins split time between the JV and varsity last season.
“At 6’3”, Channing will give us an added inside presence,” Taylor said. “Hayden gives us depth in the backcourt.”
Sophomore Cooper Clark earned varsity minutes as a freshman.
“He gained valuable experience and will look to continue that improvement this season,” Taylor said.
Greenwood reached the state quarterfinals two years ago but graduated four starters from that team, including the program’s all-time scoring leader in Julius Walker.
Greenwood finished 7-16 last season. The Blue Jays graduated four players from that team: Joe Brock, Aki Collier, Caleb Haverstick and Kade Horacek.
Brock led Greenwood in scoring (15 ppg) and rebounding (8 rpg).
Three underclassmen are battling for playing time in the backcourt: sophomores Grant Harper and Dominic Polley, along with freshman Tommy Pinegar.
“Grant is a true point guard with great ball handling and passing skills who also has the ability to hit the 3,” Taylor said. “He will provide immediate help at the point guard position.
“Dominic gained experience on the junior varsity as a freshman and looks to improve and contribute on varsity this year.”
Pinegar was a star on Greenwood’s junior high team.
“Tommy should contribute at the varsity level,” Taylor said. “He has great outside shooting range.”
Greenwood opens the regular season Nov. 26-Dec. 1 at the Pierce City Invitational.