By Joseph Hayes
On Monday, practice for another season of boys basketball ensued.
After a week of practice, here’s a quick look around the area as teams prepare to start play in the regular season.
Marine City Cardinal Mooney
“It feels good to be back in the gym with a great group of returning players,” Cardinal Mooney coach Mike McAndrews said. “We have had high energy and intensity the first couple of days. We are excited about where our program is at with a bunch of talented kids. We will field all three levels this year with Freshman, JV, and varsity teams. That’s an indicator that our program is in a great spot for a Division 4 school.
“The first couple days of practice have been fun,” New Haven coach Tedaro France III said. “As a coach, one of the things I love the most about this game is the process. Getting a group of individuals to come together as one team through hard work, sacrifice, commitment and selflessness. Expectations for our basketball program is always high. We are going to play hard, we are going compete and we are going to defend at a high level.
“I expect our kids to be better then they were yesterday and I expect them to hold themselves and their teammates accountable. We return six players, lead by senior Tyree France and junior Brent Wiles. Tyree is a 5-foot-11 point guard, who had a solid season as a back-up last year, starting four games. Stepping into that quarterback spot this year will be a easy transition for him.
“He had a great summer and he is one of the top shooters and skilled guards in the area. Brent is a 6-foot-4 forward and returning starter. Brent was an All-League and All-County performer last season. Brent can do a little bit of everything on the basketball court with the ability to play inside and out. We also return 6-foot-6 forward JaQuan Kincaid, 6-foot-5 forward Brandon Lisco, 5-foot-10 guard Ja’me McQeen, and 5-foot-10 guard Mike Williams Jr.
“Newcomers are from JV, our Mitchell Goolsby, Devin Gilleylen and 6-foot-5 Zander Weaver will provide depth at point guard and forward. At 6-foot-3, dynamic sophomore wing Emmanual Hunter will play a key role. One of the keys is how fast our four freshman adjust both mentally and physically to the varsity level —-Dezmond Gilleylen, Keyondre Gamez, Trevon Jeffery and Devin Sanford.
Port Huron High
“With the start of a new year you’re always excited and nervous at the same time,” Port Huron coach Marion Stewart said. “Everyone is 0-0 and ready for a fresh start. We’re coming off a tough year of dealing with injuries and relying on youth. We’re returning seven players, five of which were sophomores last year.
“We battled hard every game and I feel like the kids are going to be better for it. At times, we started four sophomores in a tough league. Eight of our players were key contributors to the football success this year and I think it’ll translate over to the hardwood.
“We will be small but really athletic, quick, and defensive pressure will be a key for us. If we can make consistent stops I think it’ll be a good year for us.”
Port Huron Northern
“It’s always an exciting time of year to get basketball started,” Northern coach Brian Jamison said. “We have had a couple good practices so far and are looking forward to what we hope will be a rewarding season. While our league lost quite a few seniors, there are a lot of good players returning and we will have to play well if we expect to compete for a league title.
“As always, our ability to defend and rebound will be essential. We have a pretty good core returning from last year and we will need several guys to step up and fill roles.
“It has been a very interesting and exciting start to the season,” Richmond coach Josh Presnell said. “We concluded tryouts tonight, we had 70 kids trying out for all three levels.
“We are hoping to compete for a Blue Water Area Conference championship but our league is tough from top to bottom. We are going to have our work cut out for us after losing Drew Davis and Jackson Allen. I am very excited we have a solid team coming back that is committed to playing hard every night.”