Rockets to trot out experienced, fast squad
Forrest head coach Davy McClaran plans on going deep this season, in the post-season and down the length of the bench. The Rockets finished third in District 9A last year with a 7-5 record, but lost in the first round of the Region 5A Tournament 67-56 at Clarksville Academy. The Rockets return five experienced seniors for the 2008-2009 season to go along with their two junior post players, plus McClaran has a talented and quick sophomore class that is ready to contribute.
"I have a luxury this year that I have not had in the past. I have ten guys capable of starting. Our depth has made our practices extremely competitive. We will play ten people this season," McClaran said.
He added, "We will have a one for one substitution system when we bring a player in to play the exact role of the one who came out. They all know their roles and we won't have anyone playing out of position."
What the Rockets lack in height, they make for with speed, athleticism, and a will to play the style of defense that always makes the Rockets a favorite to challenge for a district title.
McClaran smiled and said, "Right now we are vertically challenged with Colin (Henson 6'2) being our tallest player, who also happens to be a guard. We are without a tall presence inside. We will rely on our speed as our strength and our pressure defense."
"I feel confident with our defense that we can keep any game close."
The Rockets should not have any trouble scoring points this season with Henson and the sharp shooting Preston Pratt wreaking havoc from the wings. At the point, Kyle Anglin brings his experience and ball handling and at forward, McClaran has one of the best rebounders and defensive players in the district in Seth Brothers.
"Colin is a plus to any program," said McClaran. "You can't coach what he brings in his athleticism. His fundamentals may be lacking at times, but his athleticism makes up for it," said the coach. "We are being patient with him right now until he shakes the football rust off."
Pratt could be the best three-point shooter in the district and when he gets hot, he is virtually unstoppable behind the arc.
Anglin can also hit the bomb and likes to drive the ball to the hoop, not afraid of the contact in the lane.
Sophomore Taylor Gentry will get some serious minutes spelling Anglin with Kyle Gugger, Corey Bishop, and Cornersville transfer Justin McCord pushing for playing time at the other guard positions.
McClaran said about his point guards, "The point guard spot is my favorite position on the team. I have as much confidence in them as anybody we have ever had. They can play with anyone, single A, triple A, NBA, I don't care."
McClaran also sports two experienced post players in the bruising Parker Holton and the coach is counting on the talented junior Ferris Perkins to make his mark this year.
McClaran spoke of the need for Perkins to show what he has got this season, saying, "We are absolutely not going to allow Ferris not to live up to his potential. He has got all the athletic ability and we need him to show that."
Holton comes off some football injuries and will need some time before he reaches full strength. "Parker is getting back into basketball shape," said McClaran. "Those injuries will eventually go away and he has moving fine in practice."
Senior Kyle Griffy will swing from forward to post with sophomores Taylor Schoenberger and Dane Leonard.
Eagleville is the favorite in the district this season with so many returning starters. Cascade is going to be tough with their leading scorer in Jacob Carcuff returning and Community will be in the hunt, also returning all their starters from a year ago.
The Rockets can push their way to the top of the district if they can get through their tough schedule and stay healthy going into the meat of district play in December and January.
"Obviously our goal is to finish first in the district. Definitely top four if we play to our ability," said McClaran.
The coach added, "We are excited about the season and are looking forward to playing as hard as we can. This group of kids is as focused and as capable as any group of players we have ever had here.