David Crockett lost a lot of quality players to graduation, but that doesn’t mean the program will shut down. The Pioneers proved that with a third place finish in the Hardee’s Classic over the weekend, which iwas the result of a 53-52 win over Daniel Boone in the consolation contest.
That game was won off a 3-pointer by senior Josh Releford as time expired. The 5-foot-9 off guard will be the motor for the Pioneers this season as the lone returning starter.
“He has grown into being a great leader for the young guys to follow,” Good said. “He is, I guess you could say, a calming influence on the team. When things are getting tough, the younger guys are going to look at him to handle the basketball and pull them through.”
That is a role that Releford has embraced, according to Good, and it is one that he has earned.
“It’s the same ol’ thing,” Good said. “The guys that do the early morning stuff and that get the extra time in the gym, those are the ones that are always prepared. And Josh is one of them.”
While Releford will be the leader of the team, the Pioneers will have a rotating starting five, based on their opponent.
“Our top five is going to be a top nine,” Good said through a smile. “It’s going to be a different lineup when we play different people and that is why it is hard to settle down on just five. Because we do different things with a different group.”
Two seniors that will be on the team this year are Ethan Burger and Cole Ricker, neither ofwhommade the run to the Pioneers first-ever state tournament last year.
Burger will provide the Pioneers with an outside threat, while Ricker is the “glue-guy” according to Good.
An early eye opener for Crockett has been freshman Donta Hackler, who is currently leading the Pioneers in rebounding.
Bolstering the interior will be transfer Paul Arrowood, who has the largest frame for the Pioneers at 6-foot-4.
“The biggest thing with him is that he is really, really strong and he can jump really well,” Good said. “We are working on his footwork, but he rebounds well and he gives us a shot blocking presence that we haven’t had.”
Sophomore Will Stevens will handle some of the point guard duties for the Pioneers and he, along with freshman McHale Bright, are scoring threats for Crockett.
Sophomore John Kollie will be looking to take the success he had on the football field onto the basketball court and he will also be a physical rebounding guard for Crockett.
“The success he had on the football field and the aggressiveness he showed on the football field, that has transitioned over to the basketball floor and that helps,” Good said.
Junior Tee Johnson has developed over the summer, as has sophomore Tyler Estep. While both saw limited action last season, they will be depended on this year.
“Getting to experience everything that was happening around the program last year, that gave these kids something that they want to be a part of,” Good said. “They want to have the same memories and opportunities as the 2015 class presented for themselves.”