The faces will be different but the playing style will be familiar at Westside.
Veteran stars like Justin Cogar and Will Fox have moved on from last year’s team, which reached the state semis before losing to eventual state AA champion Poca.
Coming up are some promsing young players. There are so many of them that coach Nick Cook easily rattles off 12 or 13 names and says hey may not have gotten to everybody who could play.
“I’m seeing a lot of good things (in practice),” said Cook. “”A lot of effort, a lot of intensity, a lot of enthusiasm.
“We have a lot of pretty versatile kids,” he added.
He can use different lineups and use several players at multiple positions, he says.
As usual, the Renegades will be looking to go up tempo.
“We’ll have to rely on our transition game,” Cook stated.
Rebounding is an area of concern.
“We’re going to have to do a good job of team rebounding,” he explained. “We don’t have somebody like Cogar who is going to get 12 or 14 rebounds a game.
“We have some big kids but not much experience,” Cook said.
Westside has two lettermen: Larry Cook and Tre Colucci.
Cook “knows every play we’ve run since he’s been here,” the coach observed. “I think he knows some we used before he got to high school.”
While he may not play the point, the Cook considers him his coach on the floor. “He’s he extension of me out there,” he said.
“He’s a tough, hard nosed kid,” the coach remarked.
Colucci “has gotten a lot stronger” according to Cook.
Always a strong defensive player, the Renegades will be looking for more scoring from him this season.
Sophomore point guard Isaiah Lester “plays extermely hard on defense,” Cook noted.
Another sophomore guard, Shane Jenkins, saw some action last year and had a big game against Wyoming East in the Big Atlantic Classic. Cook says he can take the ball to the hoop and shoot from the perimeter.
Brian Choate missed last season with an injury. “He’s extremely athletic,” the coach observed.
Jeremiah Schollar will provide defense and rebounding in the low post.
Jordan Thornsbury is deadly from three-point territory. “Don’t leave him open,” Cook said.
Shane Blankenship, a 6-6 junior, didn’t play last year. “He’s had a nagging knee injury,” the coach noted. “He will help us with interior defense and rebounding.”
Guard Jacob Ellis “is a good shooter and athletic.”
Dalton Cook, who is 6-4, “has to get more experience.”
The coach says Elijah Puett “plays great defense and likes to get the other team’s best player.”
Broc Smith “is athletic, runs well and his effort and intensity is off the charts.”
Cory Hatfield, who is 6-6, didn’t play last year but “has a very soft touch and has to adjust to the physical part of the game.”
“I’ve got 12 to 15 people I have confidence in,” Cook stated.
With a young team, “we’ll have out ups and downs,” he said. But he thinks his team may surprise people by tournament time.
Westside won’t play in the Big Atlantic Classic this season, but will compete in a tourney at Logan which includes Woodrow Wilson and George Washington. The Renegades also play Robert C. Byrd in Charleston.
John Conley can be reached at 304-732-6060 or on Twitter @PIHnews.