Monday, January 14, 2013
What Blake Hall’s basketball team accomplished in his only year at North Charleston High School last winter may heighten expectations for some Goose Creek fans this season.
But Hall can only see what’s right in front of him. He’s only worried about today.
“I’ll never talk about state championships,” Hall said. “If you take care of other things early on, that part will come eventually. It’s about getting better gradually right now.”
Last season, Hall’s team captured the Class AA championship and he became a hot commodity when Goose Creek’s position came open. He takes over for Bruce Walls, who coached one season on an interim basis after Brad Dobbels left to take an assistant position at Charleston Southern.
He inherits a team with two returning starters, junior guard Dantez Bennamon and senior forward DeShawn Evans. Bennamon scored 17.2 points per game and dished out 2.8 assists per game. Evans averaged 5.7 points and 3.8 points.
Hall sees Bennamon’s talent and predicts a bright future. He reeled off the names of some colleges he feels like Bennamon could help, including C of C, Clemson, South Carolina and Charleston Southern.
“Dantez is as good a basketball player as you will find in this state, any class,” Hall said. “I will put him up against any junior in the state…. He got some acclaim on the football field this year but I think he’s by far a better basketball player.”
Bennamon produces in the classroom too.
“He’s going to be a steal,” Hall said. “He’s already qualified.”
Junior guard Chris Singleton has also been part of the leadership group. “They’ve been the leaders so far,” Hall said. “They work well together. They both compete.”
Sophomore Kameron Robinson is the third leading scorer returning at 5.2 points per game. He is the younger brother of last year’s leading scorer Rae Robinson, now a freshman at The Citadel.
“We need a lot of work,” Hall said. “We’ve got a bunch of young men that have had three coaches in three years. It’s a learning curve right now.”
Senior guard Jaymeke Smith, sophomore Jordan McElveen and senior post player Walter McNeil are expected to make key contributions.
“You have kids here that don’t mind putting in the hard work,” Hall said. “Some of them don’t really understand what the hard work is just yet, especially some of the younger ones but they want to be successful. It’s just a matter of learning how.”
Hall said he didn’t know what his starting lineups would be for Tuesday night’s opener at Timberland (after press time) or at Berkeley on Wednesday night.
“I hate to be cliché but there is a lot of practice between now and then,” he added. “They have to earn a spot every day. The talent pool is deep. There is not a lot of difference between the fifth guy and the 13th guy. The competition each day in practice is vital to earn a spot.”
Goose Creek opens at home on Friday night against Hanahan.
“I hope the community comes out and rallies around this team like they have the football team,” Hall said. “It’s great to be a part of. I hope they fill up the stands for us on Friday.”
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