Media day was held Monday in Cookeville for the high school basketball teams the District 6-AAA. It was chance for the 6-AAA coaches to get together and discuss their anticipation for the upcoming season.
Coaches discussed their team’s strengths and weaknesses. Several coaches discussed the number of players they had lost from last season and how it might affect them in 2015-16.
The Warren County Pioneers are coached by second-year head coach Chris Sullens. His first year in District 6-AAA, Sullens led the Pioneers to an overall record of 10-22. The Pioneers did not have much success inside the district with an 0-10 record.
His assistant coaches are Stephen Glenn, Anthony Lippe, Adam Wood, and Raymond Shutt.
Coach Sullens started out by thanking everyone for the help and making him feel welcome in the district, but he did not know that meant giving everyone two wins. Coach Sullens spoke with excitement as he discussed his team at media day.
Warren County lost four seniors from last season and return with two seniors this season.
Sharp-shooter last season for the Pioneers, Holden Baker, returns. Baker will not hesitate to shoot the deep shot under pressure. In several games last season, he kept the game close down the stretch and knocked down shots behind the 3-point line.
Jack Davidson is the other senior and he will provide quality minutes as a solid offensive and defensive player.
Coach Sullens has two big men in the post coming back. Hunter Hawkins and Krjohn Calbert will share time in the paint.
Sullens says Calbert is the healthiest he has been since he arrived at the high school. He is 6-foot-6 and weighs 260 and will provide a huge presence inside.
As for guards, Isaac Golden will continue his role and lead the Pioneer offense and sophomore guard Chance Hobbs is expected to get extensive minutes on the varsity squad this year.
Sophomore Isaiah Grayson has taken his share of big hits on the football field as the starting QB for the Pioneers. Coach Sullens told the district coaches Grayson only has to endure two more games before he can rest a little easier.
Coach Sullens is excited about his varsity team and noted, “Everyone here is on board with our program and we are excited.”
Head coach Kevin Bray of the Cookeville Cavaliers finished last season with an overall record of 22-10 and a district record of 8-2. He discussed his feelings about starting over with three sophomore guards and said it will not be easy, but he has experience in the post and hopes it will carry them.
He also has a transfer from Alcoa who is widely known and his expectations for him are high.
The Cumberland County Jets finished 13-9 overall and 4-6 in the district. The Jets return eight seniors and kept 15 freshmen, the most of any coach. He reported Cade Smith is back and shot over 40 percent from 3-point range last season.
The Jets coach says, “We are going to use smoke and mirrors against everyone.”
The Rhea County Golden Eagles finished last season with an overall record of 12-14 and a district record of 3-7. Head coach Mike Phelps is in his fourth year and hoped to build a program in two seasons but said it has taken four. He returns two seniors in Noel Patterson and Gavin Downey. He said, “Things have started to turn around for us. Too bad it has taken four years.”
The Stone Memorial Panthers are led by Neil Capps and finished last year 15-17 overall with a district record of 5-5. The Panthers lost three seniors and will play with three. Coach Capps reports he has a young team “but we are going to battle and play hard every night.”
The White County Warriors are coached by Tyler Hillis. The Warriors finished last season with an overall record of 30-4 and a district record of 10-0, led by Kordell Henderson who played his final season as a senior last year. Coach Hillis remains optimistic about his chances without Henderson.
The Pioneers get their season officially under way Nov. 19 at the Hall of Champions versus Tullahoma in Franklin County.
The first Pioneer home game at Charlie Dalton Gym is Nov. 24 versus neighboring Cannon County.