Head coach: Cedric Anderson (3rd season)
Last season: 23-9, lost to Knoxville Webb in DII-A state title game
Starters lost: 3
Starters returning: 2
Players to watch: G Alex Anderson, G Patrick Green, F Ethan Stewart, C Jay Heigel, G Reggie Lewis
Three members of the Anderson family – brothers Alex and Andrew and their coach and father, Cedric – were huge reasons why Tipton-Rosemark got scorching hot down the stretch last season and made it all the way to the state title game for the first time since 2008.
Two of those guys are back.
Cedric Anderson is entering his third season as head coach and Alex Anderson, a 6-6 junior guard who has committed to South Alabama, will be looking to build on a breakout season that saw him average 18 points and 10 rebounds per game, both team highs.
However, there will be some serious holes to fill. Tysen Banks and Andrew Anderson, who is playing at prep school in Orlando and will enroll at South Alabama after that, were two guards last year who started and made a lot of things happen. Two other rotation players, forwards Ryan Knight and Kam Collier, also graduated.
Coach Anderson is fully aware Alex will have to do even more this season.
“He’s got stronger in the offseason and he’s going to have to handle the ball a lot more,” the coach said. “Alex is going to have to be more of a leader without those two guys (Andrew Anderson and Banks) in there.”
Junior Patrick Green started at guard last year and, like Alex, will be counted on to do more this season. He’s known for his outside shooting and perimeter defense.
Senior Jay Heigel, a 6-6 center, junior guard Reggie Lewis and sophomore guard Thano Sinis are expected to see more playing time this year.
The Rebels lost to University School of Jackson on Feb. 1 and were 16-8. After that they went on a seven-game winning streak that didn’t end until the state title game.
Considering this year’s team will go to battle without two of its primary ball handlers from last season, it could take some time again before the Rebels figure out their identity.
“This is going to be a good developmental year for us,” Anderson said. “We’re going to be competing with some younger guys. The expectation is to compete and our region and see if we can get back to where we were last season.”