Jacksonville Daily Progress
NEW SUMMERFIELD —
At least one state-wide pre-season basketball magazine (texpreps) thinks pretty highly of the North Summerfield Hornets.
In fact the publication has the Hornets tabbed to finish first in District 22-A-I, ahead of Mount Enterprise, Alto, Neches, Wells and Cushing.
Hornet mentor Jason Davis says that he is proud of the recognition, but the league's championship banner will be won (or lost) on the hardwood and not in magazines or newspapers.
“We return a lot and I can see how some people can pick us to be the team to beat,” he said. “I feel like our guys can definitely compete with these teams, but this district is solid.
“On any give night if any team doesn't come ready to play they could get beat, it's just that tough.”
Davis says Alto, Neches and Wells may be the teams to look out for, and Cushing could surprise many as a sleeper.
“First of all I'm hoping for a long playoff run for Alto football,” Davis said with a laugh. “Maybe that will keep those guys out of the gym longer.
“Neches and Wells are interesting because they are like us, they don't play football and they have been in the gym all year getting ready to go to war, and I really expect both of them to be tough. Cushing has a transfer from Finland that not everybody knows about and I understand the kid can play a little basketball, so I'm expecting a much improved Cushing team.”
As Davis mentioned, New Summerfield returns a nice nucleus of talent for the 2012-13 season, which gets under way at 1 p.m. tomorrow when the Hornets host Martinsville in the opening round of the New Summerfield Hot House Classic, an eight-team tournament that runs through Saturday.
Back are a pair of seniors that Davis is quite high on.
“We have Ryan Weaver and Austin Gray back,” he said. “They are our senior captions and both were first team all-district picks last year.”
Davis said Gray will move over from shooting guard to point guard this year and that he might have to be more creative in getting the open shots from three-point land, which has been his forte.
“I think we have multiple scoring threats this year, so there want be as much pressure on Austin to deliver the three,” Davis said. “We really need him to focus on being more of an all-around player.”
Also back are last year's District Newcomer of the Year, speedster Angel Marroquin, a sophomore, and a couple of second team all-league choices — Ivan Ornelas, a junior, and senior Cameron Williams.
Davis also is excited about 6-foot-3 freshman Case Wilkerson.
“I think if Case can have a good year, so will New Summerfield,” Davis said. “He really has the potential to be a special player before his days at New Summerfield are over.”
Davis said this year's team could be special too, only time will tell, but that their output has been commendable already.
“This is one of my favorite groups because they come to the gym to work,” Davis said. “They hustle and they love to come to the gym and they don't try to cut corners or get out of anything and when you are a part of something like that it makes it fun for a coach.”
Davis said that he expects New Summerfield to be multi dimensional this year and that the team's inside game should be much more formidable.
“We have three kids that can dunk the ball this year, so that gives us some options down low that we haven't always had in the past,” Davis said.
New Summerfield's draw back may be its lack of depth.
After the first five, its pretty much an array of largely untested sophomores and freshmen that will be called on.
The Hornets are coming off a 13-11, 4-4 in district, season in which they were a bi-district finalist.