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Potential and expectations surrounding Southfield Christian boys basketball

January 23, 2013

SOUTHFIELD — Southfield Christian boys basketball coach Josh Baker said you can feel the difference in the gym this season, compared to last year.

As the defending Class D state champions, the Eagles have become the special game for each of their opponents.

“You can feel it from the opening tip. I’s almost like a playoff intensity,” he said.

With only two players back who saw significant time last season, now the challenge is elevating their own intensity.

“That’s some of the reason we’ve lost early,” Baker said. “I would say we’re inconsistent. We’re kind of up and down. We’re just young and inexperienced, so I think that contributes to it. I’m looking for us to just play hard every possession of every game.”

The Eagles were 6-4 overall and 4-1 in the Michigan Independent Athletic Conference Blue Division at press time.

Junior Lindsey Hunter IV and sophomore Bakari Evelyn are the only players on the roster who saw significant time during last season’s championship run.

Evelyn agreed with his coach’s assessment.

“We have some big wins and then some losses that we’d like to have back, but you can’t change the past. You have to move forward, focus and not make those same mistakes the rest of the season,” he said. “There is definitely more of a target on our backs. Every game, every team we play, that’s their championship. So we have to come out hard and ready to win.”

Baker said being the red-letter game for each opponent is a good problem to have.

“There is a respect to that, and hopefully, we can get the program to where we want it to be,” he said. “We’re not there yet, but when you can go into tough places and win on the road, I think that really gives you confidence. I anticipate, by the end of the season, we’ll be there.”

Helping guide the Eagles are their only two seniors, Christian Bankston and Eric Hamilton.

Baker noted that both lead by example with their hustle and have helped ease the transition for most of the new players.

Evelyn said he’s already seeing the team make positive strides.

“I think we’ll be fine pretty soon and ready to head back to the Breslin Center. We have all the potential in the world,” he said.

Baker believes the program has potential to be one of the best, year in and year out.

“We have two seniors that are rotation guys that play their tails off and are great leaders, but we’ll have 15 of 17 guys coming back next year, and we probably have at least four guys that will get full rides to Division 1 or Division 2 (college basketball programs),” he said. “We have a chance to be a great program.”

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