Warriors emerge in the summer
Published 8:13 pm Wednesday, July 22, 2015
The Nansemond River High School boys’ basketball team ended its run in the Heritage Summer League on Tuesday with a loss to Smithfield High School in the first round of the playoffs at Heritage High School.
The Warriors finished the summer with a 2-5 record.
But the summer league is not all about winning for coaches, and Warriors coach Ed Young was satisfied with the opportunities for player evaluation.
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“No question, we saw what we need to see,” he said of himself and his staff. “If we had to start tomorrow, (high school) league play, we’ve probably got five, six guys in my head that would be definites, and then a whole lot of maybes. So, we’re still doing a lot of evaluation on them.”
“In this league here, I would say Colby Williams has probably stepped up to be our defensive stopper guy,” Young said of the rising senior.
The coach said he thought rising junior Nate Foster established himself as a starter.
“He can play four positions, defensively and offensively,” Young said. “And if he can give us some production — I need 12, 13 points a game out of him — he can play point, he can play two, three, he can cover the four, play the four, because we’re not real big, so some of our guards will have to play the big spots.”
Rising sophomore Gerard Stringer has shown flashes, the coach said.
“Problem is, we won’t see him in the fall, so we’re just going to have to roll the dice on him,” Young said.
Another key opportunity for player evaluation comes in the fall league that takes place at the Boo Williams Sportsplex in Hampton, but basketball players that also play football, like Stringer, will not be available for that.
“So our evaluation of the football kids is over now,” Young said. “We won’t see them until November.”
Others that stood out in the summer league included rising senior Darius Jones, who was the Warriors’ starting point guard last year, and rising sophomore Josh Hale.
“Those two will probably battle it out for starting point guard on varsity,” Young said. “Hale has played well this summer.”
The coach said he and his staff have seen a lot of good things this summer, but “we’re still very inexperienced based on conference play coming up.”
Thinking of Nansemond River’s new conference-mates at the 5A level — Hampton, Bethel and Kecoughtan high schools — Young said, “I don’t quite think we’re at that athletic level.”
He also expects a stiff challenge from Southeastern District teams on the schedule like Oscar Smith and Indian River high schools.
“Our size is not conducive to what we need, but we can’t go out and plant players and make them grow,” Young said. “We’ve got to go with what we have.”
Among the taller players available for the Warriors will be rising senior Randall Dixon at 6 feet, 2 inches.
Nansemond River’s two wins in the summer league came against Churchland and Deep Creek high schools. The Warriors fell to Smithfield twice, Kecoughtan, I.C. Norcom High School and Oscar Smith.
“Oscar Smith beat us by four, and they went undefeated in the league,” Young said. “We played well against them.”
The Warriors and their coach will not be idle the remainder of the summer.
“After this weekend, we have a team camp at Virginia Wesleyan (College), and then we’ll assess where we are with our players,” Young said.