With ten seniors and two juniors on this year’s squad, second year head coach Carl Scott is hoping for big improvements from a Jay Bulldog squad that went 11-13 last season.
“We ought to be much improved,” Scott said. “With ten seniors and two juniors, hopefully that translates into us playing smarter than what we did at times last year. I think we’ll be a little more athletic than we were last year. We’re just a year older, a year smarter, a year better.”
Scott, who has been coaching for 20 years, 16 of which were spent in Arkansas, also thinks that his players are buying into his system.
“Last year was a learning experience. I think it’s taken a year for them to buy into what we’re teaching to them."
With so many experienced players, the Bulldogs will not be lacking for depth.
“We got 12 guys that we feel confident about playing,” Scott said. “I think we'll shoot the ball better than last year. I know we’re better defensively and we’re just getting more confident.”
That defensive improvement has already shown itself in the Bulldogs’ first win of the season over county rival Kansas last Tuesday. Jay held the Comets to 20 first half points on their way to a 65-44 win to open the season.
One potential trouble spot for Jay will be on the boards, where the undersized Bulldogs will be at a disadvantage.
“We need to rebound better,” Scott said. “We will definitely be undersized against most of the teams we play against. That’s always a cause for concern for a coach. We’ve just got to outwork people on the boards.”
Those efforts will be bolstered by 6’4” Kyle Shambaugh, along with Cotton Benge and Josh Ramsey.
“They give us a good core of rebounders," Scott said. "We just have to go out and prove ourselves every night. In this conference, there are no nights off. We being mature enough to handle it will be the question."