Indy basketball Coach Preston Davis and his talented team have set lofty goals for the upcoming campaign. Their first goal is to win the Southwestern 4A Conference title and improve upon their 21-8 2015-16 record.
The second objective is to reach the Sweet Sixteen in the State Tournament. The final mission is to have a legitimate shot at the State Championship by making it to the final round of the tournament.
Coach Davis is a graduate of Independence in the class of 1999. As a sophomore on the State Championship team, he fully understands the kind of commitment, dedication and sacrifice it will take to achieve a state championship. He also had a full athletic scholarship and a solid college career at Presbyterian College.
He was the starting Center of the 2003 Blue Hose basketball team, so Davis knows what it takes to compete at a championship tournament. They reached the Sweet 16 in Division II and lost a close game to Bowie State.
He has also been selected three times as the Conference Coach of the Year during his 8 year tenure at Indy that began in 2009. The coach stresses hard work, discipline, and leadership. He wants his players to know he genuinely cares about them as young men, to become successful in life not just as athletes. His passion and energy are evident, which motivates his players to perform at a high level.
The Patriots have all the pieces of the puzzle to make a serious run at the state championship. They have experience, size, speed, quickness, basketball intelligence, and some good young talent. There is not a large gap between the starters and second team players. The bench is deep and the coach intends to use this strength to their advantage.
The starters include the following players,
Justyn Hamilton, Senior Center 6’10” all-conference player with a wingspan of 7 feet. He is ranked in the top 200 players nationally and the 6th best player in the state’s 2017 class. He has recently made a verbal commitment to play Division I college basketball in Philadelphia at Temple University.
Jamarius Burton, junior guard/forward 6’5” transfer form Philip Berry High who is one of the top 10 recruits in the state for the class of 2018. This kid is just a hard worker with inner drive and determination. He is talented, averaging 14ppg, 8rpg, 5apg as a sophomore and is expected to make a major contribution if he remains healthy. As of this writing, he is currently nursing a knee injury that needs to be fully diagnosed.
Matt Statile, senior guard/forward 6’3” who has a good feel for the game and possesses good basketball awareness. He is the team Captain and has 4 years of varsity experience. A solid shooter and the hardest worker on the team. He is a selfless player and will do what it takes to win.
Victor Tshiona, senior forward 6’5” who is a workhorse in the paint. He is a strong rebounder, very physical and goes hard after loose balls. He is just one of those players who will sacrifice his body for the team.
Chae Johnson, senior point guard 5’11” is an excellent ball handler and very strong defensively. He has the ability to play head to head on defense against the opponents best offensive backcourt player. He can shutdown good shooters positively impacting the game.
The Patriots have solid bench strength which includes Chase Fairfax senior guard 5’11” who can come off the bench and quickly become an offensive weapon when needed in a game. He is a sharp shooter who can make a positive contribution. Robert Bonar, senior point guard 5’9” who can enter a game change the tempo and set-up the offense. Casey Allen, senior guard 6’1” who is a solid perimeter defender and can defend against the opponents best players. He is also a good rebounder for a guard.
Other key contributors include Alex Schenck, senior guard 5’ 9” has the potential to start games for the Patriots, Jordan Mobley, junior point guard 5’9” is expected to make a contribution, Damond Tillman, senior guard/forward 6’3” will contribute, and three sophomores Matthew Smith 6’5” forward and wide receiver on the Patriots football team, Andra’ McKee, 6’3” guard with potential and Raja Milton 5’11” guard with potential and plays on the varsity baseball team.
The key for this team to succeed is to ensure every player buys into the system and understands the role they need to play to win consistently in the team’s pursuit of a potential championship.