By Chris Parker
Morris Jenkins enters his second season as head coach of the Gainesville boys, but 30th year in coaching. His Bulldogs will be looking to improve upon last year’s five-win season.
Senior Jaxon Britt is the top returning player after he averaged 15.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game last season. Classmate Jalen Evans is also back after posting averages of 6.7 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.
Junior Isaac Hartman along with the sophomore trio of Bryce Hambelton, Jake Leeker and Landry Jenkins will see expanded roles on varsity after splitting time between varsity and junior varsity last year.
Seniors Austin Peter and Andrew Ball will be new players to watch on varsity.
“I feel this team will be very balanced. These players all have skill sets that give them a chance to be a competitive team,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins will be looking for buy-in and commitment from his players to lead to success this year.
“The keys to success will depend on commitment and our level of effort. Talent is obviously a key to how good a team or player will be and when you think about winning or losing a game it usually boils down to which team plays the best,” Jenkis said. “However, I believe that to give ourselves the greatest chance to play the best, we have to be committed and strive to give our best effort every day. The commitment has to start in practice. Also a player must be willing to find intentional individual practice time, not just when the coach requires it. If this happens then the effort and confidence will be evident in games. I have been fortunate to coach at the high school level for several years and the players who consistently give great effort in practice and are willing to spend time on their own practicing are the ones who tend to demonstrate the ability to raise the level of their team. I definitely feel we have the players who with the right approach can be a good basketball team.”
Overall, Jenkins is looking for his team to peak in February.
“We will strive to keep our priorities straight and the end goal in sight, which is to be playing our best basketball by the end of February,” Jenkins said. “Our expectation is to give great effort, demonstrate high character and improve consistently throughout the season. We hope to be a cohesive group that reflects unselfishness and determination night in and night out. We will focus on playing good team defense and offensively we will strive to value the ball and execute to our strengths.”
Gainesville opens the season on Nov. 26 at Bakersfield.