By Brandon Speck
West Point’s players are bugging the stew out of their coach, Brad Cox.
And he wouldn’t have it any other way. Their want-to-work attitude is why No. 1 West Point is off to a 17-2 (1-0 in Division 2-5A) start and is in the conversation of Class 5A contenders.
“They’re always bugging me, calling me, ‘Coach, I want to get in the gym,’” Cox said.
“We knew we were going to be good. This start has been fun. They’re very hard-working and very talented.”
It’s not an arrogant good and they admit room to improve, but success was coming.
All five starters, now seniors, returned, so the expectations are there. But so is the talent.
Trey Williams (6-foot-2 with long arms and a deadly shot) and Juan Davis (6-foot-6) are the wings. If teams try to take them away, Cox trusts Demarius Calvert, an undersized but smart post player.
A.J. Jones starts at the point. Diquan Ewing is a 6-foot-4 center. All five are seniors, as is forward Tony Craddeth.
“We’ve been playing together for a long time,” Williams said. “I felt we had the chemistry to be where we’re at now.”
West Point lost only one game last season at home – on a buzzer-beater – but struggled. on the road. Cox thinks a lot of that had to do with inexperience.
“This year, that’s been the big difference,” Cox said. “We’re a lot calmer, able to settle down, to stay even, not too emotional one way or the other.”
There is a good group of juniors behind the seniors, a lengthy team with depth, plenty of shooters and a love to run. The length helps on the defensive end especially, Cox says, plenty of tipped passes and altered shots so far.
It’s Cox’s fourth year as head coach, these seniors will be his first full group to graduate.
The packed house’s doors had to be locked before last week’s game against Aberdeen. Davis said the home crowd is especially loud for the rivals and big games. There are plenty of those coming. The Green Wave must still host division opponents Oxford and New Hope, as well as 6A favorite – and top rival – Starkville.