As exciting as last seasons highly-successful run was for the Dawson County varsity boys basketball squad, next year may be just as thrilling.
The Tigers are coming off a remarkable season in which they won their first Region Championship Tournament title in 43 years before advancing to the Elite 8 round of the Class AA State Playoffs.
But there are many weeks until they take their first tip-off of the 2012-13 season.
During the month of June, Dawson County will take significant steps toward realizing the shape of the team as it participates in a rigorous schedule of practices, team camps and scrimmages.
Dawson County boys basketball head coach Thad Burgess said they use the month of June just like they were approaching the season.
With the sports calendar packed when the school year begins, the team may only get a couple of practice days in November before basketball season, according to Burgess.
Therefore, the team will play the equivalent of a regular season in June with 30 or more games.
The team camps help us begin to form team chemistry, Burgess said, as they can escape from distractions during that time. I enjoy the summer even more than the year because we all get to know each other and the pressure is off.
The camps also allow the Tigers to try out different lineups in game situations.
With Bruce Clark and Mitchell Putnam opting to concentrate on football, the team will have some competition for the number five spot on the roster.
[Upcoming senior forward] Cameron Chester and [junior guard] Lucas Pain played a lot of minutes last year and will battle for that spot, Burgess said, along with the most improved player in the program in sophomore Stephen Stanfill.
The coach isnt worried about the ability of the Tigers players to fill the void.
We have built the program on having players that really will be dedicated to the program, Burgess said, so if we lose someone, it is an opportunity for someone else.
Of course, Dawson County will benefit from the leadership and experience of senior guards Tyler Dominy, Will Anglin and Gunnar Armstrong.
Burgess added that upcoming [junior] starting point-guard Jonathan Sanderson, battling a broken ankle, will be one more year under fire in handling the ball for us.
Other players that will provide depth for the Tigers include junior Jackson Putnam and junior Caneron Millholland.
As the coaching staff evaluates the roster, it is also important that the Tigers learn to win, Burgess said.
And they do indeed expect to win every game, regardless of the opponent.