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Senators prepared to open season Thursday
 October 31, 2012

MORRISTOWN, Tenn. – Veteran Walters State men’s basketball coach Bill Carlyle quite frankly is tired of being mediocre. Following 33 years of winning seasons, the past two seasons have been a disappointment.
After sub-.500 seasons on the hardwood the last two years, Carlyle and assistant coach Darrian Jones went back to the drawing board before putting together this year’s team.

When evaluating the returning talent and looking back at past team’s successes, Carlyle felt he needed to get back to a team that more resembled his high octane offensive and hard-nosed defensive teams of the past. With 13 new players added to four returnees, he feels he has a team to do just that.

“When you look back at our teams that were the most successful, we have been able to run the floor on offense and score from anywhere, and we have played tough defense,” Carlyle said. “We kind of got away from that the last couple years and it has hurt us. Now we feel like we are getting back where we need to be.”

This year’s team has plenty of talent but is short on the size Carlyle would like, but he said that the overall athleticism of the group will make up for the size difference.

“I feel like we did a really good job in recruiting and are bringing in a group of kids that can really play,” Carlyle said. “We addressed some need areas and have a lot of athletes. We don’t have a lot of size, but we have athleticism, speed and more importantly scorers.”

Filling roles at guard will be Dyer County’s Fred Yarbrough and Cedarius Taylor, Franklin (TN) County’s Blake Stephens, Franklin (NC) County’s Jeb Brewer, Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett’s Tyler Ailshie, Southwind’s Trevor Gibson and Memphis Overton’s Darrius White, who averaged 26.7 points per game to lead the Shelby County area. Returning at guard are Tony Wilkerson and Dedron Pillow.

“Our guards are better than last year, and they will help us with our production on perimeter shooting and distributing the basketball,” Carlyle said. “We have some scorers, some really good point guards and several guys that can play different positions on the perimeter. We just need to get them all healthy now because we have had some injury issues there and not had everybody available in scrimmages.”

At forward and post will be Warner Robbins, Ga., native Denard Williams, Tampa product Elgrin Wilson, Hardin Valley’s Tevin Gunn, Miami native Theodore Allen, Lebanon product Cameron High and Jacksonville native Kelvin Key. High was the leading scorer in the Nashville area last season. Returning will be Leland Robinson and Jeff Simpson.

“Despite not having the type of size we normally have down low, we have guys that are athletic enough to get up and down the floor,” Carlyle said. “Our goal is to get into more of a transition game with more dribble drives and get away from as many set plays, and the speed and quickness of some of these guys will help us do that.”

This year’s team forms what Carlyle believes could be a contender in the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association, given time to gel, get healthier and gain more experience.

“I feel like we have a good chance to be competitive in the conference this season, but it’s all going to depend on how well the team gels and comes together,” Carlyle said. “If they can do it quickly, they have a chance to be really good. Right now, we’re a work in progress. I hope this team can get completely healthy. If they do, I think we can be a pretty good team.”

The Senators open the season Thursday night at 8 p.m. inside ‘Z’ Buda Gymnasium against King College.

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