by Mark Robinson
The Greenbrier East boys basketball team had close to thirty boys trying out Monday, running drills up and down the floor to gauge abilities and skills. Coaches watched, players yelled back and forth, and the steady drumbeat of basketballs on the floor echoed constantly through the gym.
Coach Jim Justice offered an analysis of the team. “This team is going to have to believe. They lost a lot of talent, but they do have a nice nucleus of kids that can bond together well. Last year, our chemistry wasn’t the best. This year it’s going to have to be terrific, or we’re going to struggle. We lost some talent. Karim Ezzidine. Caleb Ward. Madison Erskine. Noah Dye. Gavin Smith.”
“Guard play will be a strength for us. Seth Brown is returning–his third year starting. An excellent player.”
“We’ve got Evan Canterbury, and Jasiah Rawls, who started at times. That’s the extent of our height. We’ll be alright. This year it’s going to have to be a team that really believes, because we lost a lot of talent. We’re going to have to pull together.”
Justice, who was elected governor of the state last Tuesday, restated his commitment to the basketball program at East. “When I’m here, this is the most important job on the planet.”
Justice made clear to the team that they would need to make up for some things that are lacking, by their intelligence and their effort. “Good play, and good teamwork, can make up for a lack of size and speed.” He quoted Marshall University football coach Bob Pruett, who would tell his team “We have to play as close to a perfect game as we can. Even though we know no one is perfect.”