Coaches hopeful for summer camps

Basketball coaches are taking an optimistic but wait-and-see approach to their summers.

The time period typically includes practices, camps and scrimmage games.

And that could be right on schedule again in a couple of weeks, if some restrictions due to COVID-19 are lifted.

"We have some summer dates set, and hopefully we are going to play ball," said Jeremy Dillard, head coach of the Potts Camp Cardinals. "If they tell us we can go on June 1, we will be in the gym. We will hit the ground running."

The Mississippi High School Activities Association has announced summer sports and activities cannot begin until June 1 or until further notice. An update is expected this week.

Dillard said he has three home dates set, plus a couple of other dates. Some schools he is talking to include Pontotoc, Olive Branch and Lake Cormorant.

"We want to play against stronger competition," he said. "That will make us better."

The Cardinals had a stellar season in 2019-2020, advancing all the way to the state championship game in Class 2A. They lost to Coahoma County in the title game played at Ole Miss.

Coach Dillard loses nine seniors. "We're going to be a really young squad," he said. But one key component returns, Mitchell Saulsberry. The big man in the middle has scored 2,048 points and grabbed 1,167 rebounds in three years as a varsity starter. He averaged 22.8 points, 12.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals as a junior this past season.

"To be successful, we have to have the pieces around him," Dillard said about the task of rebuilding. "That's why the summer work is so important for us."

Dillard, also the head coach of the Lady Cards last season, will assist with the girls in 2020-2021. Stephen Deaton, an assistant last season, will be new head coach of the girls.

At Marshall Academy, coach Jeremy Ervin is also making tentative summer plans, for both the Lady Patriots and Patriots.

"We're hoping everything opens back up and we can have a regular summer," said Ervin, who has been keeping in touch with players through text messaging.

"We are planning to go to MRA (Madison Ridgeland Academy) Camp in June, and several coaches have been texting me about other possibilities."

The Midsouth Association of Independent Schools had considered letting baseball and track go into June, but that was nixed, Ervin said.

So now, coaches of the various sports, including basketball, are anxious to find out for sure about their summers.

"As soon as we can get back on the court, we will be there," he said. "It's always a good preview of next season."

The Patriots finished fourth in the state in Class 3A this past season.

The Lady Patriots were eliminated in the quarter-finals of North State. Gone are four seniors from the boys squad and two from the girls.

Holly Springs South Reporter

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