The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

December 3, 2013

Joplin boys basketball ready to run

Expect a fast-paced brand of basketball from the Joplin Eagles boys this season.

“We’re going to press,” Joplin coach Jeff Williams said. “Our goal is to play 84 feet each game for the entire game. There will be a lot of factors that go into it, but that’s our goal. We’re committing to it at every level. I would love it if we never ran a set. That’s what we would prefer.

“The one thing I know is that this team is going to be exciting.”

Joplin, which finished 15-10 last year, opens the season at 6 p.m. today against Nevada in the first round of the Carthage Invitational.

The Eagles will be led by 6-foot-1 guard Charlie Brown, who enters his senior season as a four-year starter with 1,300 points.

Last year he earned first-team all-Ozark Conference honors, as well as all-district honors. This summer, he played with and against some of the best high school players in the country for his AAU team, MOKAN Elite.

“He’s a proven player,” Williams said. “He’s the only player back who got significant minutes for us last year. He had a terrific summer. He continues to get better.”

Brown, who started at point guard the past three seasons, will move to a wing.

“This will allow him to rest a little bit,” Williams said. “The last couple of years, he’s been asked to guard the opponent’s best player, and he gets the opponent’s best defender. There will be times when we want Charlie at the point.”

Brown will be joined in the starting lineup by 6-4 senior Dillon McVay, 6-5 senior Spencer Layne, 6-0 senior Keiondre Adams and 5-11 junior Jace Braker.

Braker will assume the point guard duties.

“The thing I like about our group is I think we will see more balance than what we’ve seen in the past,” Williams said.

The up-tempo style will mean a lot of players will see the court.

“Our style will probably force us to play about 10 kids a night,” Williams said. “If you’re sitting on the bench, there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to get in the game.”

Joplin’s deep bench will include 6-0 junior guard Carlos Santillan, 6-0 junior Delshaun Garth, 6-4 sophomore center Damian Campbell, sophomore guard Jayden Hetiback, 6-0 junior guard Austin Zengel and sophomore forward Carter Smith.

Williams said the kids have bought into the new system.

“I think one of the biggest selling points is that the kids love to run,” Williams said. “They’ve worked hard to develop their skills to where we can do that. It should be a fun group to watch.”

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