By Soren Rutherford
Coming into the new season, Matoaca looks to gather even more success after finishing a long regional run in the playoffs with a loss to Varina, 75-54. Despite having success last year with a 15-9 overall record, Matoaca will be playing under newly hired head coach Dennis Calloway.
Departures: While the Warriors had several players leave the program due to transferring, they also lost Jalen Hargrove and Tyrese Tingle to graduation. Hargrove will be playing for Lynchburg College this year, while Tingle will be suiting up for the Apprentice School.
Returning players: Essentially, coach Calloway and Matoaca will be working with an entire new squad of kids. Starting over, they have a variety of new players fighting for minutes and starting roles on the team.
Backcourt: Guards for Matoaca include Isaiah Blackwell, Giovanni Campbell, Jordan Crews, and Zakari McQueen. Coach Calloway approaches his tandem with the mindset of fighting for each other and consistently challenging each other as a team to get better every day.
Frontcourt: Down low, the Warriors will have Dylan Fanel, Michael Mahone, Shaun Kindred, and Kristian Cooper. In the frontcourt, Matoaca will look towards its refined play on the low block, along with multiple players having previous experience playing football, bringing needed toughness to the roster.
Calloway is focused on having his players improve their basketball skills, but he’s also retained his Army mentorship when he coaches his team.
“We can also find room for improvement, but it’s not just about basketball,” said Calloway. “I’m not only the basketball coach, but part of my job is to teach my players life lessons every day.”
Warrior basketball is going to be entirely different from last year, but Calloway is intent on having his players grasp a mindset of having a complete team with great chemistry.
Calloway realizes that coming into a situation like this will ultimately bring difficulty and hardship, but he and his players are up for the challenge.
“These kids want to win and become a band of brothers together,” said Calloway. “We’re all ready to make this year of Warrior basketball experience of a lifetime.”