Andrews boys face variables

Nov. 19, 2012 @ 09:15 PM

Our high school boys and girls basketball previews start today with T. Wingate Andrews. We will continue with a different school each day until all of the area teams have been covered. Don’t miss it!

HIGH POINT — There are so many question marks surrounding the T.W. Andrews boys basketball team to start the season that it’s hard to know where to even begin.

First, the Red Raiders have a brand-new coach: Cleaver Rennie. Second, they lost most of their core group last year to graduation. Finally, about half of their players were playing football until Friday.

So, there are a number of variables to be sorted out early in the season. Still, their expectations remain solid, even among all the unknowns: to play hard and compete with the best teams in the area.

“I don’t think our situation’s unique,” Rennie said. “It will be a challenge to get up to speed once we get all our guys, but I know ways to help do that. But we expect to compete in our conference. That’s not going to change.”

After losing all-conference players like Jalen Ford, Tyrin Miller and Jon Curtis to graduation, the Red Raiders’ most notable returnee is senior wing Benny Butler, the only current player on the regional semifinals team two seasons ago.

Chris Eatmon also saw time last year for Andrews, which went 20-7, finished second in the PAC-6 regular season before winning the tournament, and reached the second round of the state playoffs. But, really, those are all the familiar faces.

So, the newcomers like Jo Jo White and Lamar Raynard (who both also play football) will be key. With so many new pieces, it might take time and effort to get everything moving together. But once it does, Rennie said, it  very well could be exciting.

“Andrews has a history of being athletic, and that won’t change,” he said. “We’ll have two or three offenses and see which ones suits us best. But we don’t have any players who have been in this system, so we might be green in the execution.

“The big guys will handle the ball more, and we’ll run a fullcourt defense. So, there will be a learning curve. But our guys will be in shape and we expect them, when they’re out there, to give 100 percent with their effort.”

For now, the first game on the schedule, because of the conflict with football, is Nov. 30 against High Point Central at High Point University.