FORT VALLEY -- Sammy Jackson’s Fort Valley State men’s basketball team has only one returning starter off last year’s 21-win team.
But Jackson doesn’t expect a big drop off coming for the Wildcats.
In fact, he sees a lot of reinforcements for this year’s team. The Wildcats open their season Monday against Middle Georgia State.
“We’re not as experienced, buy we’re balanced, and we have depth,” Jackson said. “We have some spot size, and we have speed, a couple of shooters and some ballhandlers. We’ve got a little bit of everything1.”
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Montreal Holley is the only returning starter after averaging 1.9 points and 2.1 rebounds per game last year.
Senior point guard Desmond Lofland redshirted last year, while Northside product De’Mario Black is coming back from knee surgery. Ralph Wilson and transfers Tyrone Brinson and Derrick Spear should also give the team a big lift, while another transfer, D’Areial Franklin, could be FVSU’s most athletic player.
And Jackson said he likes what he has seen from freshman and former Westside standout J.R. Bryant.
“We’ve got a lot of new faces, but the guys have worked hard,” Jackson said. “We’re ready to get the season going.”
Women’s head coach Erica Henry is, as well, after the Wildcats went 13-15 in her first season. Her team opens Friday against West Georgia in Valdosta.
The Wildcats have three returning starters in Carmenonique Dawson, Antionna Jefferson and Brittnee Hazel.
“It’s a slow process, but we’re making good strides,” Henry said. “Most of the girls who knew me as an assistant, we had to adjust those relationships, so now they can know me as the head coach. But we’re working hard, and they’re doing a great job.”