By Gene Stanley/Sports Correspondent
With a large senior class and one large junior, Hokes Bluff’s boys basketball team has a much reason for optimism.
The Eagles have eight seniors on the varsity roster and boast of one of the area’s only 7-foot players in junior Isaac Haas. Weighing in at 280 pounds, Haas also has the ability to fill the lane.
“He’s a homegrown kid,” coach Greg Watkins said. “He’s always been tall for his age but in the last year, he shot up six or eight inches.”
Haas grew up in the Hokes Bluff system, so he knows what to expect out of Watkins. At the moment, he’s averaging double figures in scoring and rebounds – leading the Eagles in both categories.
“It’s easy to get the ball inside to a 7-footer,” Watkins said. “What he’s working on and really improving on is working under the basket to get rebounds and put-backs. He’s really aggressive on the boards and is really trying to get better at playing under there.”
Leading the attack is senior point guard Brad Robertson, a 6-2 ballhandler.
“Brad does a great job of spreading the ball,” Watkins said. “I’m looking for him to start scoring more as the season goes on.”
Matthew Watkins, a 6-2 post player, gets credit for a lot of passes from under the basket.
“He’s one of our best defenders,” said Greg Watkins. “He knows his role and does a good job of playing it.”
One of the best credits for any Hokes Bluff team is attitude, and this year is no different.
“Good kids with good grades that are very coachable is a good description,” the coach said. “There’s a good attitude toward practice and toward games. These kids want to win.”
The Eagles, who last week opened the season ranked No. 9 in the state, rose to Class 4A this year and are in Area 11 with Cherokee County, Alexandria and Jacksonville.
“That’s a tough area because they’re all three good teams,” Coach Watkins said. “Whoever comes out of it (in the playoffs) will be a pretty good team.”