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hoopspreview Dawgs smaller but smarter, spirited

They’re relatively small, they’re predominantly juniors, but Mark Blevins can’t say enough good things about the basketball intelligence, unselfishness and spirit of his 2009-10 Bearden varsity boys team.

“This is a special group of young men,” said Blevins, entering his 16th season at BHS head coach.

Many guards and wings return from last season’s powerful TSSAA Class AAA state tournament team.

Blevins favorably compares this team to his 2005 stellar yet smaller bunch led by Tony White Jr.

Comparing junior wings Rico White (6-foot-1) and Ty Greene (6-foot) to a “miniature Ernie [Grunfeld] and Bernie [King]” in terms of scoring prowess, Blevins added, “both of them will be double-digit scorers.”

“Ty rebounds because he’s s relentless, so aggressive. Both guys are excellent foul shooters, both can shoot from the perimeter, both of them can take it to the hole.

“They’re as good a wing combo as there is, period.”

Junior Dion Fair, set to be the returning starter at point, broke his foot in a freak accident earlier this fall and may be lost for the season.

“It’s unfortunate for us because he had a great summer and he’s such a spark plug,” Blevins said. “He’s our spiritual leader.”

Junior point Jaeland Lawson “played a lot last year,” Blevins said. “With maturity, he could be extremely special. He can do anything offensively.”

DeQuan Wright, sophomore point guard, “probably’s got the best athletic ability of all of us,” Blevins said. “Excellent all the way around, he just has to learn the game. He can play the wing.”

Drew Standifer, 6-foot-5 junior post, “Will hold his own ... a good shooter, especially from the perimeter,” Blevins said.

Chris Phillips, 6-foot-6 senior post who had never played varsity hoops before this season, “Has come a long way,” Blevins said. “Always gives you 110 percent.”

“Both big men are very aggressive, they hit the boards hard.”

Other, yet shorter, posts in the mix are 6-foot-2 junior Spencer Peake, and 6-foot junior Jordan Buck. “They both have nice shots,” Blevins said. “They have to improve defensively, but they’re good offensively.”

Will Winton, 6-foot-3 junior post/wing, “Played for us some last year,” Blevins said, adding he’s been battling injuries but is back.

“We’re expecting big things from Will, he’s another guy that’s got a lot of potential,” the coach added. “He can put the ball on the floor, shoot the three, excellent free throw shooter. Just needs to be a little more aggressive.”

Bottom line? “If we’re totally healthy, we’ll be reckoned with,” Blevins said. “But that’s the key, everybody’s got to get healthy.”

But lacking proven big men, “We may have to live by the three,” the coach added.

Wings Austin Weida, a junior, and Bennett Tassel, a sophomore, also look to contribute.


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