October 30, 2011
Coach: Ronnie Massanelli (28 years)
Last year’s record: 8-11
Returning starters: Collin Campbell (6-1/strong point guard), Jemar Clark (6-6/ experience post), Daniel Fitz (6-0/forward), Dekoven Randolph (6-0, guard) and Jeremy Kelley (6-5).
Best inside players: Clark, a senior, is a standout player on the court with his size and quickness, averaging 13 points per game and 10 rebounds per game. “He can be as good as any post player in the state,” Massanelli said. Versatile Fitz can play positions at both the inside and outside game but contributes a lot to the inside game. With outstanding jumping ability, Drew Smith (6-3 junior) has “unlimited potential,” the coach said, and “could really develop into an outstanding basketball player.”
He added that Kelley, one of the best shooters on the team, will play on the inside some. Denzel Dinwiddie (6-1 senior) is strong on the inside and is quick for someone that big, the coach said. Cody Davis (6-4 senior) sat out last year but, overall, is an experienced player who knows the game really well. “If Cody would’ve played last year, we probably would have won five more ballgames just by having him on the floor,” Massanelli said.
Best outside players: Campbell, whom Massanelli considers a floor general, is a good shooter. “[He] is one of those who can light it up from the outside but can drive into the basket and dish it off when he has to.” Randolph is another major player on the outside whom the Jaguars will have to rely on heavily at the guard position.
Kelly Bush (5-9 senior) has improved over the years and knows the game well. “He is a good ball handler, and we expect to see him have a lot of playing time this year.” Devin Randolph (5-9 junior) has the tools to succeed this season, Massanelli said, but needs to get committed to getting in shape and improving overall as a basketball player.
How do you think you will match/exceed/fall short of your success from last year? The team has the experience to succeed this season. “If everybody plays and works hard at it, we’ll be better than last year,” the coach said. “This group has been together since the seventh grade, and it just depends on who all shows up [to play] and who doesn’t.”
Strengths of the team: Size and experience play in the team’s favor this season.
Weaknesses of the team: The guard position needs be developed. “Our shooting needs to improve— we’re not really good shooters,” Massanelli said.
Games to watch: Augusta is McCrory’s rivalry and a tough opponent, the coach said.
Toughest opponent: All conference teams will be tough to play against. “Every game is important,” Massanelli said. “I feel like we’ve got the toughest 2A conference in the state.”
College prospects: Clark is already a Division I football prospect but also is strong on the basketball court. “He’s 6-6, 300 pounds and is real physical,” the coach said, “but at the same time, he runs the floor well and has really soft hands and is a good shooter. He’s just that type of athlete.”