Prep Hoops Preview: Thomasville boys look to rebound with new head coach
Since moving up to the 2-A ranks in 2009, the Thomasville boys have not had a winning season in basketball. With a new coach on board and roster full of upperclassmen, there is optimism that the 2013-14 season will produce better results.
Gil Maxwell takes over a team that showed promise, but faded as the season progressed to finish 6-16. Now, with a new plan of attack and senior-laden team that is tired of losing, the Bulldogs are ready for a return to the glory days.
“Everybody is still learning their roles and learning me, but we are a senior oriented team with plenty of experience,” said Maxwell, who last coached three years ago. “They are working hard to learn a new system.”
That system may be fairly new on offense, but the defensive strategy remains the same. Thomasville wants to apply pressure throughout the game and get transition buckets off of turnovers. The Bulldogs have done that for years and is something Maxwell intends on keeping.
From an athletic standpoint, THS can match any team in the area. They have speed and they have leapers. The starting five is comprised of four veterans and one freshman.
The frosh is 5-9 point guard Ja'hare Taylor Thomas. He was a breakout defensive player for the football team and has good handles and a big motor on the hardwood. His backcourt mate is 5-10 senior Demoris Payne. He ran the point last season but will now see more time at the two-guard. Payne is at his best when he can drive the lane and draw defenders before passing to teammates for open layups.
On the wing is 6-3 junior forward B.J. McElveen. He has the length of a post player, but has a nice outside shot and creates matchup problems for opposing defenses.
In the post is a pair of seniors in 6-2 Dwain Purvis and 6-2 Cedric Green. Purvis is the more polished player around the basket with an array of moves, while Green is a high-riser who can crash the boards and attack the rim.
In its season-opening win over Wheatmore, the Bulldogs substituted five new players at a time. With the uptempo pace Maxwell hopes to play, the deeper THS is, the better.
Coming off the bench will be speedy 5-8 senior guard Ike Marsh, sharpshooting senior guard Malik Johnson, athletic forward Akeem Davis, 6-2 senior forward Kamel Henry and 6-2 junior forward Michael Gillespie. Michael Towriss, Rashad Tucker and Quadell Hill round out the team.
“I have a good bunch of guys and I have liked how they practice,” said Maxwell. “We want to run as much as we can and we will see how it goes.”
Thomasville has not cracked the top three spots in the Central Carolina Conference standings for quite some time. Doing so this year will be tough again with equally athletic teams on the schedule.
“From what I have been told it is North Rowan and everybody else,” said Maxwell. “I think we are athletic, Lexington is athletic and North Rowan is athletic. There will be no nights off this season and you have to play hard and respect everybody.”
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.