Six out, eight in.
John Tyler begins the 2015-16 boys basketball season Tuesday with a large number of departures and an even greater number of newcomers.
When the Lions tip off at 7:30 p.m. at Royse City in the opener, gone will be six players from last year’s squad, with eight Lions playing in their first varsity game.
“The biggest challenge is just to get them acclimated to the varsity game and to see what they can do basically,” JT fourth-year coach Cedeno Clark said. “That’s the thing I want to see about them the most, can they get acclimated to the varsity speed and the physicality of the varsity game.”
John Tyler finished 20-13 last year, beating Nacogdoches in a District 16-5A fourth-place playoff to reach the postseason. There the Lions beat one-loss Marshall in bi-district before falling to No. 19 Mansfield Summit 77-60 in the area round.
From that squad six seniors graduated, including the Lions’ three tallest players. While Clark doesn’t have much size coming up through the ranks, he said he expects the team to play fast to overcome what it lacks in height.
“Regardless of size, we’re still teaching the same principles to be successful as far as things going on in the paint,” Clark said.
Among the returners are seniors Jacob Owens-Bush, Patrick Williams and Tavian Teal, who have three years of experience under their belts, along with senior guard Carlin Gray, another returning letterman.
Also returning, eventually, is junior point guard Bryson Smith, who was named All-East Texas Newcomer of the Year last season. However, the team will have to wait for the school’s football playoff run to end before Smith, the JT quarterback, hits the hardwood.
Newcomers include seniors Jordan Sanford, KaDareyon Tate, London McCullough and Ricardo Quintero and juniors Christopher Lyles, Gerald Berry and Mashaud Moore. The lone sophomore is Jordan Allen.
Lyles is a feisty guard, Berry a strong shooter and McCullough a high-energy post and at 6-3 the team’s tallest player. Moore and Allen will also give the Lions strength inside while Sanford, Tate and Quintero help on the perimeter.
Moore, Owens-Bush and Berry all helped the JT cross country team finish second in District 16-5A to qualify for the regional meet, success Clark said he hopes carries over to the basketball program.
With the District 16-5A opener a month away (Dec. 18 vs. Nacogdoches), the Lions coach just wants his team to keep improving each day.
“We just try to be better today than we were yesterday,” Clark said. “We always have room to grow. The sky’s the limit for what we can do if we come in with the mindset to be better today than we were yesterday.”
2015-16 John Tyler Boys Basketball Schedule
Date Opponent Time
Nov. 17 at Royse City 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 20 Central Heights 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 24 Robert E. Lee 6:30 p.m.
Dec. 1 Longview 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 3-5 Craig Bowers Invitational TBA
Dec. 10-12 Greenville Tournament TBA
Dec. 15 at Mount Pleasant 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 18 *Nacogdoches 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 29-31 Romines Classic TBA
Jan. 5 *at Whitehouse 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 8 *Corsicana 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 12 *at Jacksonville 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 15 *Lindale 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 22 *Lufkin 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 26 *at Nacogdoches 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 29 *Whitehouse 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 2 *at Corsicana 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 5 *Jacksonville 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 9 *at Lindale 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 16 *at Lufkin 7:30 p.m.
* - District 16-5A
2015-16 John Tyler Boys Basketball Roster
No. Name Ht Class Position
0 Patrick Williams 6-2 Sr. F
3 Tavial Teal 6-0 Sr. G
4 Christopher Lyles 6-0 Jr. G
5 Gerald Berry 6-1 Jr. G
10 Ricardo Quintero 6-0 Sr. G
11 KaDareyon Tate 5-8 Sr. G
12 Carlin Gray 6-0 Sr. G
15 Jordan Sanford 6-0 Sr. G
21 Jacob Owens-Bush 6-2 Sr. F
22 Jordan Allen 6-2 Soph. P
25 London McCullough 6-3 Sr. P
32 Mashaud Moore 6-1 Jr. F
Head Coach: Cedeno Clark
Assistant Coaches: James Mosley, Paul Balcorta, Travis Eckels, Dan Gay IV