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hoopspreview: ‘Big 3’ lead smaller FHS

Though not as talented as some of his previous 13 Farragut High School boys basketball teams, veteran Admirals skipper Donald Dodgen said his 2009-10 unit “is a bunch that works real hard, completely different from any team I've ever had.”

“The chemistry is very, very good with this bunch, and we're a lot quicker than we were last year,” Dodgen added.

But Dodgen faces one of his biggest rebuilding jobs, with only one starter returning (senior point guard Wayman McLaughlin) and just two other players with “crunch time” varsity experience: senior guard/post Landon Hunley and senior post/wing Reese Browning, who currently is starting quarterback for the football Admirals.

“This is a very young team ... people are going to have to be patient with us,” Dodgen said. “By [District 4-AAA] tournament time we're going to be a very good ballclub.”

Despite no player bigger than 6-foot-5, which would include Hunley, Dodgen said this FHS team is a very good rebounding unit because they “box out real well.” The hard work ethic makes this team especially good defensively, Dodgen added.

Though concerned with his team's shooting prowess both outside and in the paint, Dodgen has led Farragut to fall scrimmage wins versus Oak Ridge and Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett.

Individually, Dodgen praised McLaughlin for his “quickness and competitiveness — he is one of the most competitive young men I've ever been around. ... Just stays after you on defense. He's probably the best defensive player I've got.”

As for Hunley, Dodgen said his size and ballhandling skills make the senior capable of playing all five positions.

“He's playing real well right now,” the coach said. “Landon brings a whole variety of things ... he runs the floor well and he's put on some muscle. I think his best quality is posting up kids inside. He's got such good inside moves ... also got great outside moves.”

Hunley, previously accustomed to working outside-in, said he's worked hard on his post-up skills. “It is a little bit of an adjustment, just trying to work on post moves,” he said. “But I think I'm pretty well prepared. ... “I'll be going inside and outside -— I'll be a mixture of both.”

Dodgen said Browning “is a pure outside shooter.” Browning said “it's pretty difficult” to go from football shape to basketball shape, adding, “The biggest thing is getting the shot back, not being able to take shots while you're playing football.”

Other Ads with comments from Dodgen: junior guard Robert Jones, a transfer from White Station, “Has such great athletic ability. He can shoot the outside ball real well.”

Senior guard Nick Bender “is one of the greatest spot-up shooters I've had here in a long time.” Junior guard Taylor Diegel “is a very good player ... shoots the ball excellent from the outside.”

Sophomore guard Blake Williams “has a very good head for the basketball floor.” Senior forward Brian Westervelt “brings us outside shooting ability.”

Senior forward Trevlin Singleton “can play inside or out.” Senior forward Clay Defayette “is more of inside-outside-type kid.” Junior forward Will Parks “is a rebounding machine.” Sopho-more forward Reed Haugh “is strong inside.”

Dodgen said junior guard Ben Colwell and senior forwards Daniel Leamon and Stephen Britton could make contributions.


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