MORRISTOWN, Tenn. — Veteran Walters State Senators basketball coach Bill Carlyle is looking to give his Senators a fresh look this season in their style of play, and he hopes a guard heavy, three-point shooting signing class mixed with three big men will help them ease into the new style.
Carlyle watched his team last season put up a low percentage of made three-point shots, but he now feels he has a minimum of six players between newcomers and returning players that can boost their perimeter production and allow the team to play a motion style of offense similar to what the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs use on a nightly basis in the NBA.
“I really like what the Warriors and the Spurs do, and I wanted to put us in a position to be able to play a style like they do,” Carlyle said. “Last year, we didn’t shoot very well, but I think we will be a much better shooting team this year. We have some players we have seen on film, that if they shoot and play the way they did on film, we have a chance to be a pretty good team.”
The Senators return eight players from last year, including local products Kyle Briggs from Jefferson County and Aaron Rymer from Morristown East, while Ricky Dunnaway, a first team All-TCCAA member joins D’Monte Evans, Andrew Roker, Nate Collins and twin brothers Chase Nappier and Braxton Nappier as returnees.
Newcomers include guards Brandon Goldsmith, Malik McConnell, Nick Wright, Trevor Blackmon and Antwan Johnson, who shot 69 percent from three-point range last season, forwards Dejuonta Ross, Chris Snapp from Morristown East, Seth Battle and Elijah Cooper and big men Papa N’Diaye and Austin Geralds.
Carlyle believes this team has the potential to put two different kinds of lineups on the floor due to their guard depth, as they can run a four-guard rotation as well as a power style with two posts, a power forward and two guards. Versatility and toughness are two things the coach loves about this team.
“I really like that we can put two different kinds of lineups on the floor and mix it up to make it tougher for our opponents to prepare for us,” Carlyle said. “The problem could be if we aren’t making shots in the four-guard lineup and trying to rebound with a smaller lineup. But if we are making our shots, especially outside, we can be tough with the guys we have.”
Carlyle hopes this team can help win a regular season Tennessee Community College Athletic Association title, as it would give them a berth in the NJCAA National Championship Tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas, as a zone qualifier this year. If that doesn’t happen, Walters State will be the host of the TCCAA/NJCAA Region VII Tournament in March, and a tournament title there would also put them in the nationals.
“Since we are hosting the tournament this year, obviously we will feel like we have a chance to win that on our home floor,” Carlyle said. “We would love to win the regular season championship in the TCCAA, however, and not have to worry about it, but we have always been a solid team at home and will be confident going into that tournament at home at the end of the year.”
Walters State will open its season on Tuesday, Nov. 1, with a home game against Tennessee Wesleyan inside ‘Z’ Buda Gymnasium and Assembly Hall.
BY WALTERS STATE