Carl Junction finished 10-17 last season, but that record could have been much different. The Bulldogs lost seven games by six points or less and two in overtime.
“We continue to work on building a championship culture,” Carl Junction head coach Skip Brock said. “Hopefully we gained valuable experience and understand what is needed to win those close games. We grew closer to where we want to be as a team and program.”
Two players graduated from that team in Keynan Wade and Zayshawn Weston. Wade averaged 11.1 points, 3 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game while Weston put in 2.4 points and pulled down 3.9 rebounds each game.
Junior Trent Smith, who is 6’6, will be the cornerstone for the Bulldogs after putting up 19 points and 7.5 rebounds per game last year on his way to second-team all-conference honors.
“Trent is a versatile inside-outside player,” Brock said. “He has had a great off-season, looks stronger, and has expanded his game.”
Senior Will Bebee provides more size for the Bulldogs with his 6’7 frame. He averaged 11.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game as a junior.
“Will is a versatile inside-outside player,” Brock said. “Will had a productive offseason, is stronger, and has expanded his game. Both of these guys (Smith & Bebee) complement each other and are team leaders.”
Junior Rayquion Weston didn’t begin the season as a starter, but worked his way into the starting five by the middle of the season. He posted 5.9 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.
Fellow Junior Nakoa Warren and sophomore Mason Fox both were part time starters last season and return this year.
“(We have a) solid group of returning veterans who have faced adversity and learned from it. They care about our program,” Brock said.
Two more lettermen in junior Blake Thomas and sophomore Teagan Armentrout return. Brendon Hoberecht, who sat out last year after starting as a sophomore, returns to the court for his senior season. Senior Chris Bennish, junior Drew Henderson, sophomore Slade Frazier and freshman Alex Baker will all be in the mix for varsity minutes.
Brock will look for his team to focus on controlling the things they can control in 2017-18.
“(The) biggest opponent for all teams is themselves. We have to focus on the process not the outcomes,” Brock said.
Carl Junction opens the season Dec. 7-9 at the Arvest Hoops Fest in Rogers (Ark.).