Last season: 11-16 (lost to Lafayette in first round of 43rd District Tournament)
Coach: Mike Allen (first year)
1. Isaiah Patterson: 6-5, 180 junior forward/center who averaged 9.2 points and 6.6 rebounds last season in 21 games. “It feels great trying to lead these guys,” said Patterson of being a top returning player. “I’ve been playing varsity since I was a freshman and it’s great trying to get my team together to have a better season than last year. ... We’re young and we’re not that big this year either so I think we can get out in transition a lot.”
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2. Landon Porter: 6-3, 175 senior forward/center.
3. Eric Boone: 6-1, 170 sophomore guard who transferred from Bryan Station. “I’m excited about him,” Allen said. He’s a player with little varsity experience getting “thrown out to the fire” but has seen good players on the AAU circuit.
Others to watch: Isaiah Allen, Mike’s son who’s a 6-0, 160-pound freshman guard; Deonte Edmonds, 6-3, 165-pound freshman guard; Robert Gardner, junior forward; Cameron Blair, 6-4, 180-pound freshman center.
Games you gotta see: Allen says the Commodores should be “a very competitive team by January.” That’ll be just in time for back-to-back home bouts with Lafayette (Jan. 8) and Paul Laurence Dunbar (Jan. 12), two teams tabbed to duke it out for the 11th Region crown.
Fast facts: Three of Tates Creek’s leading scorers from last season — Jordan Fucci (17.3), Desmond Duke (11.6) and Trey Sturdivant (8.4) graduated. They also took with them more than 17 rebounds a game.
The transition: “It’s been an easy transition (since I was the JV coach a year ago). They know who I am and they are familiar with me. It’s just them getting acclimated to a new system, that’s gonna be the challenge. The guys are grasping it every day but there are some different concepts in my system versus Coach (Wayne) Breeden. But I have kept some things they’re familiar with from his system to help make that transition smoother.
Difference in styles: “We’re a little bit more up-tempo and are gonna be more guard-oriented. We don’t have a horse like Jordan Fucci like we had last year, who was a great player at the high school level. We’re gonna have to create opportunities off our defense. Once we do that we’ll be all right.
Growing pains: “There’s gonna be some nights where we look like a JV team cause we’re in a rebuilding process. The future’s bright but we’re just gonna go through some growing pains. I think by each game we’ll get better as far as game experience cause we’ve got so many kids who haven’t had varsity experience. One of my goals is for us to be competitive every game, and I think we’ve got enough talent to do that. But there’s gonna be some teams some nights that’s gonna have superior talent.”
Isaiah “Zay” Patterson
Building chemistry: “Tell them to keep their heads up and not get down on themselves. We’ve got a long season ahead of us.”
43rd District grind: “We try not to really focus on that. We just try to focus here and get better.”