Albany High boys coach Archie Chatmon admits he isn't sure how good his team will be after losing four players that trasnferred, but if the Indians' first game of the season was any indication -- a two point loss to local power Monroe -- Albany could be on its way to a solid season.
ALBANY -- Albany High boys coach Archie Chatmon pulled no punches when asked what kind of team he will put on the floor this season.
"I have no clue," he replied.
Stung by attrition and transfers, Chatmon figures his Indians lost five or six players who would have made contributions this year. Now, Albany's tallest remaining player is 6-foot-6, 215-pound junior center Jibri Jimmerson. There isn't another player bigger than 6'2 left on the roster.
"To be honest with you, right now we are still getting to know each other," said Chatmon, who is in his 23rd season as head coach and looking to improve on last year's 9-16 record. "We will truly be analyzing our team as we go. I am hopeful that as we start to get into our region schedule, we'll know what we've got and who we are as a team."
The Indians return three starters from last year. Six-foot-one sophomore guard Tim Pierce is the team's returning leading scorer with 10 points per game. He is joined in the backcourt by 6'0 sophomore point guard Larry Sanford, who averaged 7 points-per-game last year. Jarvis Hicks, a 6'3 senior forward, also brings his 7-point average back.
Hicks, along with 5'8 guard Barry Diamond and 6'2 forward Jerome Carter, are the only seniors remaining on Albany's 15-man roster.
"Sanford could be the key for us," Chatmon said. "He's going to have to be the one who pulls the team together on the floor for us. And he has his work cut out for him."
Others expected to contribute for the Indians this year are sophomore Roscoe Byrd, a 6'1, 235-pound hybrid forward/center, Emanuel Byrd, a promising 6'1 freshman guard and 6'2 freshman forward Tyrone Culbreth.
"I really, really love this team," Chatmon said, tapping his fingers on his roster for emphasis. "In practice, you can tell they are very hungry. They work so hard at everything they do. Whether that translates to wins this season ...."
The Indians opened the season earlier this month with a 60-58 win at Dougherty. Albany hosted Monroe late Saturday night and will next visit Westover on Tuesday.
ALBANY GIRLS LOOK TO HAVE EVEN BETTER 2009:
After losing in the second round of the state Class AA playoffs last year and closing with a 22-5 record, Albany High girls coach Telly Turner says the Squaws' goals are simple heading into a new season: win Region 1-AA and advance further into this year's state tournament.
Jasmine Myers will key that effort in the back court. Meyers, a 5-foot-9, senior point guard, is the team's returning leading scorer. Ashley Hicks, a 6'2 senior, will slide into the center spot. Michele Edwards, a 5'10 junior, will play at the forward slot, while Chasity Mullins and Kizzie Coleman, both 5'6 sophomores, are expected to fill the remaining two starting guard positions.
"We are really looking to build on what we started last year," Turner, who is starting her sixth season at the Squaws' helm, said. "We are a team getting used to success, but we are very young. Seventy-five percent of our team are freshmen and sophomores."
Hicks and Myers are two of just three seniors on the roster. The other returning senior is guard Jayme Tomlin.
The Squaws' roster took a major hit after losing four players to graduation who went on to play college ball. Amber Chatmon is now at Mercer, Catharyn Clyde is at Georgia Southwestern, Lndonauh Childs is at Darton College and DaQuanda Arnette is now playing for Fort Valley State
"We are going to have to be very patient this year and look for leadership out of our three seniors," Turner said.
After getting knocked out of last year's state tournament, 54-50 by Henry County, Turner hopes the players she has returning this year remember and learn that experience.
"We want to contend for Region this year and get past the Sweet 16, Turner said. "We've got some people here who are not satisfied by what happened last year."
Albany opened it's season earlier this month with a 45-39 loss at Dougherty. The Squaws entertained Monroe late Saturday night and will visit Westover on Tuesday.