Statesboro High head basketball coach Lee Hill won his 800th career game last season and his 15th region title. The Blue Devils lost a few key players to graduation from last year's team, but don’t expect a down year from Statesboro this season as two of the returners are a pair of the better players that have come through Statesboro recently.
The Blue Devils lost three-year starter Cam Harvey, as well as guard Marcus Kirkland and forward Jordan Wright, but return point guard Tray Burns (9 ppg, 4 assists per game last season), and guards Daniel Cooper (12 ppg) and Tyler Goodman, the trio of whom coach Lee Hill will be counting on for points and leadership.
“We only have three seniors but we do have some other players with experience,” said Hill. “You always want seniors because of their leadership and these three have been with me and I’ve seen them grow through the years.”
As for the talented trio they are all ready for the season and excited about finishing their careers on a winning note.
“I think we have a very fast team with good ball handlers and shooters,” said Burns,. “We’ve had the experience of winning region and making a run in the state so we are ready for even more this season.’
Cooper is the team’s leading returning scorer, and feels he not only has to help with scoring this season but with leadership as well.
“Our overall goal is to try and get a state ring,” said Cooper. “I know I am going to have to be more of a leader since it’s my senior year but luckily we have three seniors to help do that.”
While the Blue Devils may be quicker than last year they will also be smaller, which isn’t always a bad thing for coach Hill. He has rarely had the advantage of a tall team and has had some pretty good seasons with teams consisting of players 6’2’’ and under.
“We know rebounding will be a bit of a weakness,” said Hill, “But we can hopefully make up for that with our speed and quickness. More than that though, it’s been a pleasure to come to work every day because these kids have great attitudes.”
The Blue Devils have already played two games this year as they participated in the 100 Black Men Thanksgiving Classic in August as they lost to Lakeside 75-69 on Friday and then defeated Evans 54-42 on Saturday.
“We got in foul trouble in the first game with Lakeside and played kind of sloppy,” said Hill, “I was glad we rebounded with a win over Evans on Saturday and we looked a lot better, particularly in the second half.”
Next up for Statesboro is a girls/boys doubleheader tonight in Statesboro against Bradwell Institute. The girls get things underway at 6 p.m.