By Kevin Eickman
Buccaneer basketball will have a great many changes this year. Besides moving up to the Henlopen Northern Division, Milford will also face a great deal of turnover on its roster, graduating an astonishing 11 players from last year’s squad, which finished with a 12-8 record and falling to Sussex Tech in the opening round of the Division II State Tournament.
Second-year coach Lamarr Shorts knows that there are going to be some big shoes to fill, but he also knows he has quality players that love to compete.
“When you lose as many players to graduation as we did, you would expect to take a bit of a hit,” he said. “With this group, however, we have a lot of talented players ready to step up to the challenge. Everything I have seen so far shows me that this is a group that is going to compete.”
Moving to the Henlopen North presents a big challenge to the Buccaneers in conference play. Besides its conference games, Milford will face a few strong teams from other conferences which have a history of being solid programs – Saint Marks, William Penn, A.I Dupont and Hodgson will also be on the Buccaneers schedule.
“We feel that in order to be a quality team, you need to play quality teams,” Shorts said. “We know these are challenging games, but that is how you get better. You test yourself and you make yourself stronger.”
Milford is working on developing its style of play heading into the season. While last season saw the Bucs playing a lot of fast break basketball, Shorts believes with the players he has this season, it will be more advantageous to mix things up a bit this time around.
“We really liked to run down the court last season and I know we’re still going to do that. However, we plan on incorporating a lot of sets and rotations, so that we can present a more balanced attack.”
Shorts believes that the team could jell quickly on the defensive end of the floor. A key component that he will use to set the tone for the squad from the beginning of the season.
“Individuals don’t play defense, teams play defense. That is what we are emphasizing right now, getting everyone on the same page defensively because we anticipate that to be a great strength for us this season,” he said.
One of the players to keep an eye out for is senior Jarvis Jarvis. Shorts believes he has what it takes to produce on the court.
“He has been working very hard over the summer and he has been spending time in the weight room. You can see all of the hard work translating to his game and we have high expectations for him this season,” Shorts said.
Jaedon Wright, who has moved to Milford from North Carolina for his final high school season, is another senior on the Milford squad. Watching a scrimmage against Parkside, Wright looks to have the makings of a solid player. Good both on and off the ball, he has demonstrated the ability of shooting from long range – a trait that will most assuredly help the offense.
Juniors Allen Sivels and Kenny Reed are other players to look out for this season.
“It’s not just those guys I’ve mentioned either. I believe we are going to have a pretty deep team this season. I would hope that we can have a rotation of eight or nine players, that would really help us a lot during a very long season,” Shorts said.
Milford open its season on the road December 4 at Middletown with a 5:15 tip. The very next evening (Dec. 5), the Buccaneers host Dover with the game set to begin at 6:30.
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