El Dorado News

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December 16, 2017
El Dorado News Times

Smackover ready to open season

This article was published November 28, 2017 at 5:00 a.m.

By Jason Avery

News-Times Staff

The curtain officially goes up for Reggie Turner’s debut as Smackover’s boys basketball coach tonight.

Hired during the summer after serving as an assistant coach on Gary Simmons’ staff along with being El Dorado’s freshman boys basketball coach, Turner leads the Bucks into their Class 3A-4A District 12 opener tonight at Monticello.

Turner has had his full compliment of players for a little over a week after the Bucks’ football team was ousted from the second round of the 3A playoffs.

“It’s been kind of up and down,” Turner said of the early practices.

“The football guys were coming off of a heartbreaking loss on a last-second touchdown by Mayflower, so I kind of knew that they were still going to be down about that.

“We did a couple of weekend practices and came in (last) Monday and practiced, and I gave them Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday off and then we came back and got a couple of practices knocked out before we head to Monticello.

“We’ve been doing what we do, getting up and down the floor and getting our conditioning up, working on some of the skill stuff just so we’re ready for that first game.”

Prior to losing the bulk of his players to football, Turner had a chance to get a close look at his players, and he believes they can greatly improve after a tough season a year ago.

“I thought they were a hungry bunch,” Turner said of his team. “I feel like the kids are ready to come out and show that last year wasn’t them, and they can compete and win games.

“I don’t think last year was a reflection of who they were. I just think they had certain problems that may have been going on.

“I know they were short on players last year. I think they finished the season with seven players, so I’ve been able to get a few more kids to come out. I think the kids right now are believing they can go out and win some games.”

While it will certainly take some time for the rotation to settle in, Turner said a few players caught his eye during workouts.

“Roshard Boone is a long, athletic kid that’s about 6-4, 6-5, and he can really do a lot of things,” Turner said. “He can play inside out, he can post up, he can shoot from the outside. He can play some of the most athletic positions in the zone press. He’s a multi-talented player.

“Jaqueze Modica is a sophomore that I think in the coming years, people will get to know him by his name because of his athleticism and quickness. I think he is going to be a player in the future, and Peyton Jones has length and athleticism.”

Jones is one of several seniors on the squad, and Turner said they have set the tone for the team.

“Definitely,” Turner said. “I’m grateful to have such a veteran group in my first year. I hate that I don’t get multiple years with those guys, but at the same time, there are some positives in that those guys have been through it all.

“This is their last year, so I know they’re going to come out proving that they can get the job done, and hopefully, we can do just that. I’m grateful to have a veteran group of kids.”

When he asked what he thought the key to the season would be, Turner said it would be the leadership from the seniors.

“Just having that leadership and having something for the younger guys to look up to,” Turner said. “Just going out every single night and playing hard and looking to run all night long. Hopefully, we can wear some opponents down, and the only way you can do that is with depth and I think we have that this year. I feel like we can run a lot of the things that I like to run with this group of kids, so we’ll see how it goes.”

So what are Turner’s expectations for tonight’s opener?

“Each game is important, and you want to win them all, especially the conference games,” Turner said. “But I’m just trying to get the kids to focus on one game at a time and try not to look ahead. Obviously, we want to win, but the main thing I want to see is our guys compete, so just getting them mentally prepared to go in and play that first conference opponent and try to give them confidence moving ahead.”

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