The Tyler Legacy Red Raiders didn’t hit the court at midnight this year, but they didn’t wait too long to get practice officially started for the 2020-21 season.
The Red Raiders were on the court at 7 a.m. as they get ready to start their first season under new head coach Kevin Walker.
“It feels good to be back, because we thought we weren’t going to have a season this year,” guard Jaylon Spencer said. “And this is my senior season, and half of our team’s senior season, so we were really looking forward to it.”
“With everything we got to do this summer, we got to spend more time with them than normal,” Walker said. “This isn’t Day 1, because we started this a long time ago in the summer together. But it’s that official Day 1 of it’s time to get excited because we’re getting closer and closer to getting to play somebody other than ourselves and other than the JV. So there’s just a buzz and an excitement.”
Walker was on Alan Simmons’ staff last year with the Red Raiders, but when Simmons left in the offseason to become an assistant boys basketball coach at Aledo under J.D. Robinson, who is taking over for former UT Tyler head coach Jamon Copeland.
“It’s been a lot better and a lot easier than other places I’ve been because you normally have to come in and it takes time trying to create relationships,” Walker said. “This time, I was able to walk into the guy, and I didn’t have to go around and fist bump everybody and introduce myself. I knew these guys and they knew me. We had that relationship already, which is a big piece of what we do, because I’m such a relationship driven guy.”
The Red Raiders opened practice with a variety of stations, each led by a different coach — from shooting to dribbling to defense.
Back on staff with Walker is Mike Smith. Joining the staff are Brandon Rougely and former John Tyler standout Justin Johnson, who was recently an assistant for the Tyler Junior College Apaches.
“Adding them has been huge for us,” Walker said.
The Red Raiders are scheduled to scrimmage at Hallsville on Nov. 7 and Mesquite Poteet on Nov. 10. The season opener is set for 4 p.m. on Nov. 14 at Sulphur Springs. Legacy’s first home game in its newly renovated gym will be at 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 24 against Lakeview Centennial.