John Dillard made his first official moves Thursday since assuming the role as head coach of the Warren County High School boys basketball teams May 17. Dillard announced who will be the members of the Pioneer basketball teams as he kept 19 upperclassmen and 15 freshmen.
Coach Dillard will have eight seniors to lean on in his first season at WCHS, including three who return with starting experience. Starting guards D’Andre League and Lee Carden will be back for their fourth year with the varsity team, along with guard Ryan Jennings who started games a season ago for the 13-21 Pioneers.
The senior class also includes valuable bench performers from last year in guard Lance Kelley and forwards Dillan Wood and Trace Taylor. Rounding out the senior class are Kyler Kominos and first-year player Cameron Lusk.
Seven juniors made the cut, including varsity role players Malik Ladet, Zech Clark and Edgar Morales. Bryson Lewis, Alex Cripps, Chandler Cassel and Brock Majors are hoping to make the jump to varsity after spending last year playing junior varsity.
Only four sophomores made the cut after just five players played last year on the freshman team. The sophomore group includes guard Christian Wilkinson and forwards Holden Baker, Logan Martin and Jack Davidson.
Two freshmen are also penciled in to play varsity right away. Krojhn Calbert and A.D. Majors, who helped the Warren County Middle School basketball team to a second-place finish in the Central Tennessee Conference last year, will jump straight to the varsity team.
Coach Dillard plans on taking 12 players to camp this week when Warren County travels to Bethel University.
The varsity squad, which hasn’t been announced, will play in eight games over the course of three days.
While choosing his freshman team, coach Dillard leaned heavily on last year’s county championship squad. The Eastside Bulldogs, who went undefeated through the season and tournament, produced six players on the freshman team.
Dakota Nunley, Tyler Beaty, Alex Yates, Raleigh Woods, Mitchell Stembridge and Hunter Hawkins will bring their championship pedigree to the Pioneers this season.
Five players from WCMS made the freshman squad. Isaac Golden, Logan Wilson, Isaiah Blanton, Joelah Solomon and Brendan Breedlove will continue to be Pioneers for another season.
Rounding out the freshman team is Trey Cantrell from Dibrell and McCall Turner from Centertown.
The WCHS basketball teams will spend the summer traveling to local colleges, including a two-week camp at Tennessee Tech.
Basketball season will begin Monday, Oct. 28.