The month of June is a time of evaluation for Head Coach Thad Burgess and his basketball team. Despite getting off to a slow start at Buford High School at the beginning of the month,his team finished strong at Birmingham-Southern University in Alabama.
Playing over 38 games, with 10 practices in between, Burgess was able to come away with a good feeling about his squad.
“I felt we could compete with anybody when we left Birmingham-Southern. I was really pleased with our chemistry. We kind of went back to the way we played the last few years instead of running set plays on offense,” he said.
The team began at Buford High School with scrimmage games against Buford and Chestatee high schools.
Dawson was without post players Jacob Evans and Stephen Johnson, who both went down with injuries during the two days.
“That didn’t help at all,” said Burgess. “We didn’t play without those two guys. We were trying to run more set plays and try some different combinations with our players. We really struggled.”
After leaving Buford, Burgess took his troops to Berry College in Rome for three days. During games at Berry, the team started to play better. getting back to their old style of play.
The next week Burgess took his group to Athens to participate in a camp at the University of Georgia.
“Our guys started to get things going. We really played well together. Getting Johnson and Evans back really helped,” Burgess said.
The camp at Birmingham-Southern in Alabama really gave Burgess a feel for what his team could achieve in the upcoming 2009-2010 campaign.
“We really pulled together over the last 10 days,” said Burgess. “We really competed well, winning 22 of our 25 games.”
“I’m really proud of our juniors. They have played a lot together last year, and you could see the difference when we put them out there together,” remarked Burgess.
“Stephen (Scaife) has really matured. He has shot the ball really well over the last 20 games this summer. Kaleb Holbrook has been a leader and can play many positions for us. Jacob Evans is our returning leading scorer and rebounder. He makes a big difference when he is in the game. Stephen Johnson is playing really well inside and Levi Wilson has also played well,” he added.
“Tyler King will also be another valuable junior for us this season. He has improved tremendously and is really getting a feel for things. He should play some good minutes for us,” said Burgess.
Burgess feels that his team will have depth with the likes of freshman Tyler Dominy and sophomore Logan Lewis.
“Logan is such a presence inside and Tyler will play a lot of minutes for us. Senior Dalton McDaniel continues to get better and will be a big part of our team,” Burgess said.
Burgess compares his summer games to that of a regular season. The first week at Buford was matched up to the preseason, where his team tried different things, both offensively and defensively.
The camp at Georgia was associated with the time just before Christmas. That is the time when most coaches begin to settle on a rotation.
When the team went to Dobb’s Creek in Forsyth County, Burgess matched it up with the region games played right after the New Year.
Finally, the camp at Birmingham-Southern was treated as a tournament situation.
“I feel really good with where we are right now. Our guys will take July off and then we will start shooting in the mornings and conditioning in the afternoons when school starts back,” said Burgess.