NSA boys hope to improve

Published 7:53 pm Wednesday, November 21, 2012

NSA varsity boys' basketball coach Randolph Davis instructs the team during a preseason practice as he seeks to guide the Saints to an improvement over last year's 6-20 overall record.

The Nansemond-Suffolk Academy varsity boys’ basketball team and head coach Randolph Davis will look to improve from a 6-20 overall record in 2011-12.

Davis is the new coach, but he’s got some history with the Saints, having managed the NSA varsity boys’ squad previously, but not since 1986.

Davis has had to change his perception of how the season would take shape in the last week since football season ended. Junior football players John Mobley and Jared Morse were expected to give the team great height and were assets on the court last season. They practiced with the team this past week, but have since opted not to play this year.

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Given the team’s sudden lack of size, Davis reviewed the list of things it would need to do to compensate.

“Control the tempo, probably spread things out, try to use our quickness, probably try to play defense by keeping the ball on offense, that type of thing,” he said.

“We’ll still have somewhat of an inside presence with John Hogan and Steve Minter, but Steve’s really sort of more of an outside player than an inside player, so we’re just going to have to change our whole philosophy, probably.”

Despite this change, certain things about the season remain unchanged, like the goal.

“We wouldn’t go into it if we didn’t have the goal of winning, we’re just going to have to win a different way now,” he said.

Even before the loss of Mobley and Morse, Davis said the Saints would depend on their guards. Davis does not plan to play a center.

“I’m probably going to have guards and forwards, primarily,” he said. “We’re not going to really have an offense or a defense that’s predicated on having a center. Everybody’s going to be probably in movement, so it’s not like I’m going to have a guy posting up all the time.”

One of the guards will be freshman Morgan Wentz, who started as an eighth grader last season. He will play point guard, as well as shooting guard.

Juniors Hogan and Minter will make important contributions, Hogan particularly as a forward.

Another football player, sophomore Jack Johnson will get a chance to shine this season.

“He played on the varsity (team) as a ninth grader, didn’t see a lot of playing time, but I expect him to get some playing time this year,” Davis said.

Returning from injury will be junior Jackson DeMello.

“Jackson was the starting point guard two years ago on the (junior varsity) team and didn’t play last year, but has decided to come back out to play this year,” Davis said. “So, he’ll certainly be a help and take some pressure off Morgan and allow him to be able to be the shooting guard sometimes as opposed to the point guard.”

Sophomore Punit Barot will also be expected to make some key contributions.

“He was probably the leading scorer off the JV team last year,” Davis said. “He’s a guard.”

Davis expects the team to be good, but feels that it will take some time.

“With the short amount of prep time, we’re kind of going to be playing and preparing at the same time,” he said.

The goals that Davis has for the team are both ambitious and simple.

“I’d just like to see us play very well and improve over last year, just get better, be above .500 by the end of the year and possibly make some noise in the conference tournament and get into the state tournament,” he said.

The Saints will host Alliance Christian in the first game of the season Nov. 27.