First Presbyterian Christian Academy started its basketball season yesterday afternoon with the annual Faith Baptist Christian Academy Tip-off Classic in Ludowici. And, according to second-year coach David Jones, things look quite different this season.
Jones lost three of his starters to graduation and one of his key players transferred to another school. But he does return starters DJ Felder and Jordan Johnson.
"Each had a great year last season and they’re both much improved this year," he said of the returning seniors. "Their experience has shown over the summer and pre-season so they should be our leaders."
The coach also has some new additions in Mike Tige, Jaquez Smith and ninth-grader Dominique Kirkley.
"He (Smith) is one of the top sophomores definitely in the state and perhaps, hopefully, will be in the top 100 in the nation," Jones said. "He has a lot to learn. He has to learn to play inside and right now his best game is on the outside. He is more of a three player than he is a four or five player, but he can just flat shoot it. I mean he can shoot it."
However the coach said he lacks depth at the bench this season."I don’t really like the term rebuilding," Jones said. "I never have. I’d rather reload it, but we just don’t have any depth. A number of things happened. We couldn’t get the kids in and for whatever reasons our numbers are down … Our players, the ones we got, can play with anybody. There are just not enough of them. We can play with anybody in the GISA one-to-one. But when we have to go six, seven and eight, it can’t happen and will not happen. We can shoot with most teams and I think we’ll rebound with most teams and that sounds good, but I never had a game where somebody didn’t hit foul trouble in the first half … and you don’t have to be real sharp in math to figure out what happens at that point."
Jones said the Highlanders were set to battle against Potter’s House out of Jacksonville on Thursday afternoon, calling the Florida team a legitimate competitor.
He said he plans to count on Johnson and Felder, both of whom can shoot and control the game’s tempo, to lead by example. He said Johnson is a great defender and Felder is much stronger this season with his back to the basket.
But the lack of depth is something that worries the coach.