Harding Academy Wildcats
October 30, 2011
Coach: Brad Francis (school record: 75-40)
Assistant coach: Reese Lloyd
2010-2011 record: 23-7 overall — Conference Co-Champions, District Runner-up, Regional Champions and State Quarterfinalist
Returning starters: Lane Dailey (5-9/ experienced point guard); Jordan Smith (6-1/ Post); and Will Francis (6-4/ guard)
Best inside players: Smith, a senior, is a two-year starter and has the most playing experience of the post players, Francis said. Jace Davis (6-2 senior), David Brooker (6-1, senior) and Barrett Henderson (6-2 junior) will also contribute to the inside game.
Best outside players: Junior Will Francis has played varsity since he was a freshman, making All-State as a sophomore and the All-State Tournament Team as a freshman and sophomore. He averages 15.5 points per game and 5.3 rebounds per game. “He has good size and can handle the ball with an ability to score inside and out,” Coach Francis said.
Daily, a senior, has been a two-year starter at point guard for the Wildcats. An all-conference selection, his experience is very valuable, Francis said. He added that Tom Gould (5-9 senior) is a quick athletic guard who has seen quality minutes during the past two seasons. Locke Adair (5-10 junior) will help on the outside. “He is an excellent outside shooter. We expect him to get a lot of quality minutes this season.”
How do you think you will match/exceed/fall short of your success from last year? Francis said the Wildcats lost four quality seniors who had a lot of experience and talent, but they have an opportunity to have another strong season. “We have several players returning with experience, but they will be in different roles this season,” he said. “It will require several players to step up and fill a bigger role for us, and we must continue to have great team chemistry.”
Strengths of the team: Guard play, perimeter shooting and depth — the Wildcats have good team chemistry, Francis said.
Weaknesses of the team: The coach said the team must develop a consistent inside presence on the offensive and defensive ends and rebound from all five positions on the court.
Games to watch: Riverview — “The close location between the two schools makes for a natural rival, and both schools have had quality teams and games over the past several years,” Francis said. “It will be important conference games for both teams.”
Toughest opponents: Heber Springs, Riverview and the larger classification schools that the Eagles will play in the Beebe Christmas Tournament, the coach said.
College prospects: Dailey — “He is quick, tough, has [a great] understanding of the game and is a good shooter,” Francis said. Will Francis is also a prospect because he is a “good size with guard skills” and is a good scorer with good basketball instincts.