COACH: Inglis Hunter
2018-19 RECORD: 17-10
Jeremiah Venson, 6-1, Sr.
Xavier Eutsey, 5-9, Sr.
Tahron Taylor, 5-11, Sr.
Emanuel Milon, 6-6, Jr.
WHO TO WATCH:
Taliek Morton, 6-6, Sr.
Shamar McFarland, 6-5, Sr.
Jordan Howard, 6-4, Sr.
Caleb Love, 6-1, Jr.
OUTLOOK: The Jarrod Davis era at Salem High School will officially end once the Seminoles take the court next Tuesday in their first regular season game.
After stepping down from his position as the school's head boys basketball and assuming the role of athletic director, Davis helped tab Inglis Hunter as his replacement, a veteran coach looking to take the next step in his career.
With Davis serving has Hunter’s athletic director, the two have quickly built a great relationship in the months that have followed.
“Very helpful,” Hunter said of Davis. “But I think more so he’s let me do my own thing and has kind of backed off a little bit. I don’t go to him as much as did when I first got here. He told me that this is my team and my program. But he’s been very supportive in pretty much everything that I want to try and do.”
The addition of Hunter and the subtraction of Davis aren’t the only two significant changes to the 2019-20 Seminoles. The team has said its goodbyes to last season’s top two scorers and leaders in Lance Smith and Montez Swann, both of whom have taken their talents to the collegiate level.
Smith led the Seminoles in scoring last season with 15.7 points while Swann finished with an average of 14.4.
The Seminoles do return two key players to the mix this season in seniors Jeremiah Venson and Xavier Eutsey. Both Venson and Eutsey averaged nine points as a juniors and are expected to lead the Seminoles’ backcourt.
Hunter is also expecting to see expanded roles from senior’s Tahron Taylor, Shamar McFarland, Taliek Morton and Jordan Howard as well as junior Emmanuel Milon.
Taylor averaged four points while playing in 22 games last season. Milon, who played in 25 games last season, averaged 3.3 points. Howard, McFarland, Morton and Milon each possess good size for Hunter and the Seminoles, standing between 6-foot-4 and 6-foot-6.
“We definitely have a good group of seniors coming back,” Hunter said. “Just not a lot of experience. Throughout the summer, we played in a lot of summer league games. We played at Clayton State and played up in Marietta. We played some of the top teams and I think this summer let them see that they can play with these top-tier teams.”
While Hunter is expecting big things out of his senior class, the emergence of Milon has the first-year head coach excited to see what the 6-foot-6 forward can bring to the table.
“Last year I was playing more of a post role,” Milon said. “This year I’m looking to expand my range. I’m also working on my defense. Last year I was more of a shot blocker. This year I’m trying to be more of a perimeter defender.”
Hunter also didn’t shy away from the Seminoles’ playoff chances this season. Having made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, Hunter is expecting his team to make it three years in a row, despite playing in a very talented Region 4-AAAA.
“That’s very important,” Hunter said. “That’s one of the top goals to make the playoffs again. We also want to win the region. I know it’s a tough task with Woodward Academy in our region, but I think we can beat those teams.”
Woodward Academy clocks in as Class AAAA’s No. 1 ranked team to start the season while Eastside is at No. 5 and North Clayton is at No. 10.
“I’m very excited,” Hunter said. “I’m ready now, honestly. We can start tomorrow.”