Head coach: Nic Buford (2nd season)
Last season: 12-13, lost in region semifinals
Key players lost: Javaris Tolton, Braden Lewis, Shane Cox
Key players returning: Michael Lee, Levi Poindexter, Jordan Bell, Murray Norman
Year one under first-year coach Nic Buford went pretty well as Munford picked up some key wins and nearly won a district title.
With three starters back for Buford’s second season leading the Cougars, there appears to be enough talent for that kind of success to continue.
Javaris Tolton, who was a beast in the middle last season and the Cougars’ leading scorer, graduated last spring and will be missed.
The good news, however, is that three other starters are back and two newcomers figure to make a major impact.
Seniors Michael Lee and Levi Poindexter bring a lot of experience, and talent, to the table. Lee is a 6-5 wing who can do considerable damage on the perimeter or in the paint. Poindexter can be a lights-out shooter and is a big-time hustle guy who does all the right things. He scored 19 points in an impressive win last week against Southwind.
Jordan Bell, who started last year as a freshman, is best known as the football team’s starting quarterback, but he’s a really good basketball player who figures to take a big leap forward this year. Murray Norman is another sophomore who saw plenty of action a season ago.
Seniors D’Camron Haynes and Jamarius Ealy transferred to Munford this year and will have an opportunity to shine. Haynes played for Millington last season and Ealy played for Murfreesboro Riverdale.
Buford said he can see a big difference in the team’s attitude compared to last season.
“They seem to be playing with a little more urgency, more locked in,” Buford said. “I think they want it a little bit more and that comes from the seniors.”