By MacKenzie Bates - Sports Editor
Nov. 27, 2013 — The West Carter boys basketball team is a young group and coach Jeremy Webb knows it.
With four seniors, three sophomores and seven freshman on the squad this year, the Comets, while essentially built for the future, are living in the now as they get ready for the 2013-14 season.
“That’s where we’re at right now,” Webb said. “We have a lot of young kids that are very talented basketball players that we will have to rely on heavily to provide some support for those seniors. Our seniors are going to have to provide good leadership for us. They’ve been there and done that.”
There is no Kyle Brown. There is no Dustin Black. They will be without Tristen Mitchell because of an injury during football season. But Webb is expecting his team to step up and fill those gaps.
“I know that we as seniors need to be good leaders to these young guys,” senior Jacob Layne said. “We need to keep their heads up when they make mistakes. Tell them to forget about it and make the next play and try and help them to focus the best that I can.”
Webb is not making any excuses. He and the Comets have rolled up their sleeves and went to work in the offseason to get his young players ready for the 2013-14 season.
“We’ve got some of them some playing time at the varsity and junior varsity level but they’ve really progressed nicely throughout the offseason and early on this year in practice,” Webb said.
And the Comets are expecting better results for the 2013-14 year.
“Once we get everybody settled in, I think we’re going to be a team that won’t be at their best early on in the season,” Webb said. “Hopefully we’ll progress throughout the year and try to get ourselves in a position to give us another shot in the regional tournament again.”
The same thing happened last season. The Comets were 1-12 heading into the new calendar year. As they went through January and February they hit their stride, going 9-8 heading in to the 16th Regional Tournament.
“Things were not fun around here in regards to games and practices last season,” Webb said. “It wasn’t fun tobe a part of that stretch. To our guys credit, we bounced back. They hung in and kept working and that’s what we’re going to have to do this year. We don’t want to see 1-12 again but we’re going to be a team that will mightily improve from the first week of the season to the last week.”
Because there is no go-to guy this season for the Comets like Kyle Brown, Layne said this team has a chance to be that much better.
“I think we’ll be a good team and be a lot better than last year,” Layne said. They can’t put all the pressure on one player. We all can score and play defense. We don’t have any selfish players. We all sacrifice for each other to make that next pass for an open shot. We’re all going to have to stick together.”
But Webb cannot be impatient with his young players. With a team that is expected to compete for an All “A” Regional Championship this season, he knows the learning curve will be sharp.
“The young guys will have to be a little more patient and I have to be with them,” Webb said. “I can’t demand a whole lot out of them early in the year like I will my seniors but it will be a learning process they’re going to learn what to expect from me and what we want from our program.”
The Comets will tipoff the season Saturday, Dec. 2 when they travel to Rowan County.