It’s officially basketball season in Alabama as Monday marked the start of practice for teams all over the state.
In North Alabama, that means several reigning champions are back on the court.
Last year, things went about as well as they could for the Lee Generals. The team went 17-1 and dominated Ramsay to capture the 5A state title as coach Greg Brown got to share the championship with his son, Kaleb.
But this year is shaping up to be slightly different. Many of the Generals’ star players are gone and Brown is left with a younger squad to compete with.
“If I only enjoyed it when I had a stacked team, I probably better get out of this occupation,” Brown joked at practice Monday. “I love these teams. For 20 years, we’ve only not made it to the regional or the state once. So, I mean I’ve had these teams before, I just gotta push and give it all I’ve got.”
Two starters from last year’s title run are back -- Dexter Smith and Jacari Lane, guys coach Brown called some of the best leaders he’s had in recent memory. He hopes they can instill discipline and patience in this young group.
“Hopefully they can get that winning edge that those guys carry with them, so I’m hoping that’s gonna spread throughout my young team,” he explained.
Though the team may not be quite what it was last year, Brown sees potential and is setting his expectations high.
“Same formula, different pieces. Same script, different cast,” Brown said. “We’re young, but these kids want to be here and the main thing is just focus.”