Warren County sports fans craving a winner aren’t going to have to look any further than the WCHS boys basketball team this year.
A program that was already merging onto the highway of success appears to making its way into the fast lane thanks to a roster full of talented returning players and two new seniors who have just joined the team from other counties.
“We have a good group that’s ready to get Warren County basketball back where it needs to be and a couple nice additions that are going to help us get there sooner than we expected,” said WCHS coach Chris Sullens. “People are going to be surprised at the talent we have on the floor.”
Joining the team Monday was 6-foot-5, 240-pound post Trevor Gains, an all-district, all-region performer last year for Cheatham County. Together with 6-foot-6 Krojhn Calbert, 6-foot-5 Hunter Hawkins, and bulldog Joelah Solomon, the Pioneers have a hulk-like frontcourt.
Also new to the team is point guard Lorenzo Wilson, a transfer from Oakland who has been spending his time up until now on the football field. Wilson and Tyree Ladet will provide ball-handling skills to complement PG Isaac Golden, who started last year as a sophomore.
Perhaps the most perceptible change casual fans will notice is Warren County’s size and athleticism. Thanks to regular work in the weight room, the Pioneers pack some muscle.
“We look more like a high school basketball team,” said Sullens. “We have eight guys who can dunk a basketball. Last year we had nobody.”
Sullens praised the offseason efforts of every player on the team from sharp shooters like Holden Baker and Chance Hobbs to shutdown defensive players like Alex Yates and Isaiah Grayson. He said the fight for playing time is going to be fierce and the intensity of practices reflect that level of competition.
“Last year was not where we wanted to be,” said Sullens. “The work these guys have shown tells me they weren’t happy with it either.”
Naturally no coach wants to build up his team too much and Sullens was quick to emphasize there are many talented teams in this district. White County, for example, has been as tough as any basketball program in the state, bar none, over the past 20 years. The Warriors may have lost some key players to graduation, but they didn’t lose their winning tradition.
Like Warren County, Cookeville got a couple nice transfers to help its roster, while Cumberland County returns a number of strong players.
That obligatory disclaimer aside, I look for the Pioneers to do some shoving this season and begin pushing their way to the top of the district. I see a no-nonsense atmosphere in store at Charlie Dalton Gym.