Head coach: Ryan Ross (5th season)

Last season: 22-11, lost to Bolton in region semifinals

Starters lost: 4

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Starters returning: 1

Players to watch: G T.J. Tyus, F Javaris Tolton, F Jason Williams, F Jermal Harvey, G D’Anthony Vann, G Levi Poindexter

Considering the Cougars lost four three-year starters – Kylan Cunningham, Kyree Cunningham, James Farrow and Landon Winter – from a team that came within a win of playing in a sectional game, one might assume Munford is starting over this season.

Head coach Ryan Ross was hired when those four were freshmen and he developed them into leaders who helped Munford win a district title last season, the program’s first since 2014.

Despite a significant roster turnover that also includes the graduation of key contributors Jaden Jones and Ja’Shawn Adell, Ross wants to make it clear he does not feel like the program is starting from scratch again.

“No,” Ross said when asked that specific question. “These guys coming back have been on a winning team. They’ve seen what it looks like.”

The lone returning starter is senior guard T.J. Tyus and he’s a good one. Tyus is entering his third year as a starter and averaged eight points per game a year ago.

Senior guard T.J. Tyus is the only returning starter for the Cougars, who won the district title last season. Photo by Jeff Ireland

Junior Javaris Tolton, a 6-3 forward, saw is playing time dramatically increase in the last few games last season and that experience should serve him well.

Senior forward Jason Williams, who goes 6-6, was hurt early last season and sat out the rest of the way. He’s healthy now and should make a big impact.

Jermal Harvey, another senior, is long and athletic with a high motor. Junior D’Anthony Vann is a transfer from Covington who will get a chance to contribute and sophomore sharpshooter Levi Poindexter moves up to the varsity squad this year.

The Cougars won’t be favored to repeat last season’s success, but Ross clearly likes his squad.

“One thing about this team is they have a really high basketball IQ, they’re smart and they communicate well. I feel like we’ve laid down a foundation of a good basketball culture, so we don’t have to build that anymore. This is going to be the kind of team that gets better as the year goes on.”

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