Two starters return for A-J boys’ hoops
The Anna-Jonesboro High School Community boys’ basketball team returns two starters from last year’s 16-14 team as it prepares for 2016-2017 competition.
The two starters who are returning are both juniors: 6-2 forward Jake Parr and 5-10 guard Sheldon McGrath.
“We’re young and we hope we’ll get better as the season goes along,” A-J basketball coach Mike Chamness said. “Our big thing will be finding guys around them.”
Three seniors are in the mix including 6-5 center Izzy Markovic, 6-1 guard Jade Gillis and 6-1 forward Michael Hill.
The Wildcats sport a strong junior squad with 6-4 forward Logan Sawyer, 5-8 guard Jacob Zimmerman, 5-8 guard Ross Pinnon, 5-11 guard Noah Smith and 5-9 guard Devin Hazel.
Sophomores who could see varsity action are both 6-0 guard candidates in Tyler Smith and Carson Reynolds.
“I really like this group,” Chamness said. “They’re catching on easily and really adapting well.”
The team could be built around speed and shooting skills.
“Hopefully, we have the ability to do both,” Chamness said. “I think we can play different styles, it just depends on the score and all.”
Chamness looks to Carterville, Pinckneyville and Nashville as the top three teams in the Southern Illinois River-to-River Conference’s Mississippi Division race. He said Du Quoin has a lot of potential as well.
“Our conference is going to be tough,” he said. “Every game should be a battle.”
The Wildcats are scheduled to open their season in the Goreville Tournament Monday, Nov. 28. A-J’s first conference game is slated at home against Nashville Dec. 9.
“I’m excited to get going,” Chamness said. “Then, we’ll figure out what pieces go where.”