Thomas Dale boys’ basketball has struggled in recent seasons. In fact, they won just five games last season. Now, there’s a new coach at the helm in Keyode Rogers, who has 16 years of coaching under his belt. Locally speaking, his last job was as an assistant under L.C. Bird head coach Troy Manns for the past four seasons. He’ll look to instill that same winning pedigree in the Knights. The team fell in the first round of the Region 6A tournament to James River last year, 83-56.
Returning players: Myles Phillips, Kylon Lewis, Neal Phillps, Jahmeel Campbell, Luke Ogle
Backcourt: Two senior guards, Campbell an Neal Phillips will look to lead the unit. A sophomore and the younger brother of Neal, Myles Phillips has great promise and potential. Overall, Rogers is excited about the depth in his backcourt. The Knights have a lot of players who competed for starting positions, and many could contribute. The group will be young and will take their bumps learning.
Frontcourt: Ogle and athletic wing Lewis, along with Luke Ogle figure to be key components of the unit. Rogers applauded his post players for working hard in practice, in the areas of working on their skills, and pushing each other to get better everyday. Unlike to the backcourt, Thomas Dale will be thin here on depth.
Rogers’s game plan will be to develop youth, along with a major focus on team defense. While he said that the team does want to get up and down the court and play with pace, but that type of play is driven by getting stops on the defensive end. With a loaded district, defense will be key to keep Thomas Dale in games if they are to improve on their win total.
“We have a lot of work to do as individuals and as a team, and not a lot of time to get it done,” Rogers said. “But we will continue to work and push each other to make our team better. Iron sharpens iron.”