2012 NPT PHOTO BY SETH BUTLER CCHS junior forward Dylan Dockery is matched up against a Grainger High School defender during a scrimmage on Thursday evening in Newport.
Friday, November 09, 2012
(Last modified: 2012-11-09 20:45:33)
Author: Caleb Chrisman
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

NEWPORT-With several returning players, the Cocke County basketball squad is hoping to see some big time results during the 2012-13 season.

The Fighting Cocks return a senior and four juniors to the starting lineup and head coach Ray Evans expects his team to continue taking steps in the right direction, after finishing in sixth place in District 2-AAA last year.

"I'm looking to see some growth," Evans said. "We had our seniors last year but also a lot of our guys were young. So, I'm looking for growth this year. Even now, they're still just juniors - most of them.
I'm just waiting for them to develop and get a little more mature and hungry."

"I think we've got a lot of the pieces that we need to compete for a title, but it depends on depth to go along with that. We're still waiting and seeing," Evans said.

Jacob White is the lone senior starter at the three and will certainly provide a solid spark on both ends of the floor.

Kimbel Thornton will run the show at point while Hunter Suggs starts at shooting guard.

All-Conference performer and junior Dylan Dockery will be tough for any team to handle at the four.
Junior Jerick Varner moves into the starting lineup this season at center.

"(Experience) is definitely a strength," Evans said. "You look at Dockery who made All-Conference last year. You look at Jacob White who started a lot of games and played a lot. Kyle Green played a lot and started a lot. Hunter Suggs and Kimbel Thornton played a lot last year."

"We've got a lot of experience and hopefully that'll carry over this year and we'll grow from that," Evans said.  

Kyle Green, Sam Gunn and Kyal Clevenger are expected to crack the rotation for the Fighting Cocks.

Several other players still have opportunities to grab minutes throughout the season.

More on them will come once we see who ends up in the rotation the first few games.

"These young guys don't have to do anything to really put us over the top, just don't hurt us," Evans said. "We put you in there to sub for a little while. You can make a play here and there, just don't
hurt us when we put you in the game."

Evans is especially upbeat about the post positions this year. He feels they've made solid strides there in the offseason.

"We've definitely got more depth in the post," Evans said. "We've got some solid players with Dylan Dockery in there and Jerick Varner. That should be just about as good of a post combination than anybody in the conference. They're good players, have good size and good strength."

"Then you've got Kyal Clevenger, Sam Gunn and Sam Hooper. (Hooper's) been impressive in practice."

Cocke County will also add a few wrinkles to the offense this year. It's not a complete overhaul, but expect some changes on that side of the ball.

"We've changed it up a little bit this year (on offense)," Evans said. "We're not doing as much dribble-drive but we're still playing fast. It's a different kind of pace. It's a quick hitting type, not necessarily the dribble-drive."

"If we can learn to execute that without flaw, then that'll be a big advantage for us," Evans said.
The schedule continues to be tough for the Fighting Cocks, as well as for everyone else in the IMAC.
It's just as tough of a league as it's ever been, and Evans expects another fight to the finish.

"From top to bottom I can't sit here and tell you one team that I know we're going to beat. I just can't do that." Evans said. "I think South Doyle's going to be much improved. Jefferson County and obviously Sevier County will be good. East and West are always there. Top to bottom, it's tough."

"We could finish anywhere from first to last. That's just the way it is, with a little bit of luck. The team that gets the luckiest is going to be the team that wins. There's just so much depth in our conference."

Cocke County begins its season with a Hall of Fame game at Hardin Valley on Tuesday evening.
They'll return home for a battle with Greeneville on Thursday.

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