Sports > Schools
Building Momentum: North boys primed for dominant hoops season
For a team that's consistently made the playoffs, McKinney North head basketball coach Darryll Craft knows this could be his best team yet.
The Bulldogs (2-0) are returning several key starters on a team that's packed with years of not only varsity experience, but playoff experience as well.
"We've made the playoffs the last three years and the last two years we've had a lot of underclassmen contributing to varsity," Craft said. "We have seven juniors and they all played the last few years. I like the fact that we have such veteranship on this team. We have a lot of experience coming back."
As is the case with any team, with talent comes pressure, something Craft said he's ready to embrace.
"I'm excited," he said. "This year I think we'll have a bull's-eye on our back because we have the biggest enrollment and we have consistently made the playoffs and we have a lot of kids coming back, so there's some pressure to hopefully compete for the district championship."
Given his wealth of options, Craft said he'll rarely put the same starting five out there every game.
"We have so many players, a lot of depth," he said. "So I won't have the same starting five every night."
Players who are expected to contribute a lot of minutes are junior point guard Jola Otubu, junior guard Julion Pearre, senior guard Bryson Brown, junior guard Kody Wilson, and sophomore post Eric Ford.
Depending on matchups and in-game adjustments, Craft said several other players will likely also get a sizable amount of playing time, such as junior guards Colin Curran, Michael Caldwell, and Steele Douglas, just to name a few.
"All of those guys will have a chance to start any given game," Craft said.
As for the team's strategic identity, Craft said it's simple.
"We're a half-court, man-to-man-type team," he said. "We're a well-balanced basketball team with a lot of great players and no superstars."
With only two seniors on the 11-man team, Craft is encouraged by what he sees moving forward.
"Hopefully we have a program built where it's just a continuous group of kids replacing somebody else," he said. "This year's group's is pretty talented. I'm looking forward to this year, there's no doubt about it."
With a lot of depth in not just the Bulldogs' district, but also its non-district slate, North will be tested early and often, and that's just fine with Craft.
"We have a very tough schedule," he said. "We play a lot of the top teams in the state and I'm really happy with that. It will get us ready for where we need to go. I'm confident our kids will step up to the plate and look for those challenges."