Although the Bradwell Institute Tigers basketball team’s roster is short a few starters this year, the squad likely will have two returning leaders in juniors Tykeem Brown and Treshawn Hagood.
Previous varsity starters D. J. Felder, Jordan Johnson and Devon Hodges traded in their Tiger stripes and transferred to First Presbyterian Christian Academy where they will play under former Tiger coach David Jones.
According to Tiger varsity coach Pete Woodard, Brown and Hagood had many quality minutes as sophomores in last year’s season. The team was 11-13 overall and 8-6 in Region 3-AAAAA.Woodard, who spent three years as Jones’ assistant varsity coach, is entering his second season as head coach. He said he expects a learning curve, but he has faith in his new team.
"With only two players who actually had varsity experience last year returning, you know we are going to be a relatively young team," he said. "In fact, there are only three seniors on the team. I’ve always said there are two kinds of players — practice players and game players. Right now, it’s too early to assess what type of team we are going to have. We just had tryouts last week. But from what I’ve seen in the last few days of practice ... If these guys play the way they are practicing, the way they are now, then I feel we can contend in the region."
Woodard said they finished third in the region last season because his players played with intensity when it counted. He said he is looking forward to the games against Liberty County because he thinks it will bring together the best players from both schools.
"Although they go to different schools, they grew up in the same neighborhood. Some of the kids attended the same middle schools together ... But I always tell the guys, ‘It’s not what you do it’s how you do it and it’s not who you play but how you play the game.’ And when they have to play each other, they’ll play. A game like that has so much intensity because both teams are going to give 100 percent."
Woodard said the difficult task is transferring that intensity to every game and not allowing complacency to set in.