ROCKDALE COUNTY BULLDOGS
COACH: Tyrone King
2018-19 RECORD: 7-18
Kevin Sesberry, 6-3, Sr.
Jheim McDonald, 6-0, Sr.
WHO TO WATCH:
Elijah Jefferson, 6-5, Jr.
Yusef Lawson, 6-2, Jr.
OUTLOOK: Head coach Tyrone King and the Rockdale county boys basketball team will embark on their sixth season together and will tip off against Loganville Saturday.
The Bulldogs will have six seniors on the roster this upcoming season after graduating seven from last season.
One of those seniors is Kevin Sesberry, a 6-foot-2 shooting guard who lead the Bulldogs in scoring last season with 11 points and four rebounds. As he returns to the hardwood to one up the season he had last year, Sesberry looks to add a three-point jump shot to his arsenal.
“People do not believe me, but I have been working on it,” Sesberry said.
Sesberry eluded to his 3-point shooting work with fellow three-point threat and teammate Jheim McDonald.
McDonald, who will also suit up for his last season in his high school career, shot an impressive 32 percent from behind the arc off 90 attempts last season. Outside of team success, McDonald is looking to shoot more if coach King gives him the green light.
“Over 100,” McDonald said of his projected three-point attempts this season.
Coach King had great words for McDonald, saying that he improved on his defense over the summer and how it surprised him.
“He is probably going to be one of the top defenders, along with getting buckets,” King said McDonald.
Heading into the season, the Bulldogs still must prove themselves in their own region. In a tough Region 8-AAAAAAA that saw all four of its playoff teams advance in the second round of the playoffs, Rockdale failed to win a single region game last season, going 0-10 in such games.
They went on to finish the season with a 7-18 record and post their second losing record in three years.
“I do not see us not winning a region game this season,” coach King said. “Hopefully, we will be in the top tier so we can make the state playoffs this year.”
In a super tight region, King’s optimism is just what this team needs to boost their confidence. His believes that this team being able to trust one another is another key to winning more this season.
“I think this year we will be able to preach team more,” King said. “I think last year it was just a lot of competitiveness in the locker room.”
King used his two standout seniors, Sesberry and McDonald, as examples of two players who are humble and want to win more than anything. They serve as the posters of senior leadership among a Bulldogs team that has many newcomers from the junior varsity.
King also praised Elijah Jefferson, a junior forward, and Yusuf Lawson, another junior forward that are expected to play larger roles this season.
King also praised their camaraderie and dedication to working on each other’s game over the summer, which he believes helped the players get to know each other and build on that team bond that should carry into the season.
“This summer we actually played together and the players learning each other,” King said.
As far as identity, the Bulldogs have always been a straight, man-to-man defense, but King also talked about how he tried to hold his opponents to under 50 points in each game in years past.
Now, King has a different approach for the team and how they are going to guard teams this season.
“Our identity this year is to get the ball up the floor and try to force the action,” King said. “We are still going to try to hold teams to under 50 points.”
As far as competing in annual tournaments, you can catch the Bulldogs in tournaments in Franklin county and at the Christmas tournament in Augusta.