By Amanda Perkins (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Shane Benson is new to the Zizzer program, but he’s no stranger to basketball. Prior to his professional career, Benson played at John Brown University and helped his team win a national championship. As a coach, he has won over 300 games in 17 years. Now he looks to bring his winning ways to West Plains as head coach.
The Zizzers lost three to graduation after last year’s 6-18 season: John David Mulford, Jay Talton, and Dalton Ross.
Both Mitchell Mahan and Landry Randolph will return to the floor for their senior seasons. Mahan (6’0) is an effective ball handler and passer who averaged 2.6 assists per game and scored 10.1 ppg last year. Standing at 6’4, Randolph is a long-range threat who averaged 8.0 ppg and pulled down 4.6 rpg.
New faces for the varsity crowd last season are well-known names now. Junior Clay Butler (6’0) averaged 6.9 ppg and 3 rpg, and 6-foot-2 Garrett Warren, junior, put up 8.3 ppg and 4.2 rpg. Junior Garel McGinley, 6’0”, averaged 4.1 points per game.
Standing at 6-foot-7, junior Jake Swope will be an intimidating presence in the paint this season. Several others will also be battling for floor time: senior Camden Murphy, juniors Bryson Collins, Caden Collins, Alex Morrison, Lane Jett, and Lawson Peterson, and sophomores Conner Rackley, Eli McGinley, and Alan Marcak.
Benson knows to compete in the Ozark Conference, his team will have to out-work opponents and prove their mental toughness. “Our goals for this season are to play hard and compete in every game,” said Coach Benson. “We have several boys who will fight for playing time, and I am looking forward to seeing who steps up and becomes our leader.”
The Zizzers open their regular season at Salem December 5.