The Jaguars of Jacksonville College concluded preseason play Saturday morning by facing NCAA Division III member LeTourneau University in Longview.
The Jags, who lift the curtain on the 2013-14 season Friday night against Midland College in Plano, came into the practice game down two players, Jake Enon (Ipswich, England) and Anthony Sharp (Mesquite) and to make matters worse the Purple and White lost Aaron Bryant (Mobile, Ala.) during the contest to an ankle injury.
“Those are three of our primary ball handlers, so they are difficult losses,” Bailey said. “I don't know the full extent of the injuries right now (Monday morning), but I have a felling we could be starting off the season without one or possible more of those three.”
Bailey did manage to find a semblance of a silver lining in the gray cloud, however.
“Injuries are never good, but its better to have them now than once conference begins,” he said. “Also, it gives us a chance to get in next-man-up mode and this gives some other guys a chance to step up and show what they can do and take ownership of things.”
Bailey also didn't let those physical ailments sour the day entirely.
“Saturday was a great day for us,” he commented. “We continue to get better in some facets of the game, but we still need to improve on getting the defensive rebounds.
“The biggest thing about having those guys hurt is some of the others will not only have to step up, but they will have to do it in a hurry because we open the season Friday. Our guys have to be able to think and to be accountable.”
Most of Bailey's teams in the past have exited the gate on fire. Coach said that that mode of operation may not apply to the 2013-14 group.
“I see this team steadily getting better and better as the season unfolds,” Bailey said. “With so many new players and now having to work around these injuries, we probably are going to be a team that is better down the road than it is on the opening week of the season.”