Baldwin boys basketball team expects to be strong

JJ Eads will be coaching the Baldwin boys basketball team this season.

JJ Eads will be coaching the Baldwin boys basketball team this season.

John Raffel

BALDWIN – Baldwin’s boys basketball team will open its season at Hesperia on Monday and will be led by fourth-year senior Carmelo Lindsey.

The Panthers were set to scrimmage Tri County and Evart at home on Thursday and scrimmage at Reed City on Saturday.

Baldwin was 18-5-2 for second place in the WMD league last season.

“Two victories over MCE were big for us, and we advanced to the district final after our second victory over them,” Eads said. 
“Second place in the league and having 18 wins were good for us due to losing key seniors from the previous season and a talented player transferring out.”

As for departing seniors, “Jesse Pancio was our steady presence on the team and brought leadership,” Eads said. “We could always count on him to be there every day and give effort and help us get better.  He was third on the team in scoring last season and started every game. Jalik Hawkins-was a solid post player for us throughout the season. He could extend the floor and get key rebounds for us.

“We also lost two key players to transfer the past several weeks:

Dante Rogers and DJ Baldridge who both had great summers for us but had to transfer out of our program. They were both projected to either start or be one of the first guys off the bench. There is also another key player that isn’t able to play for us this season.”

Lindsey is expected to have a huge season.

“It doesn’t have to be scoring,” Eads said. “We are looking for leadership and consistency on both sides of the ball and for him to lead us to a successful season.”

SJ Hossler is a junior forward-guard.

“He was a very valuable player for us last year and has put the time in to improve,” Eads said. “He can extend the floor, and now we need him to get to the basket and create stuff for others. SJ will also have to defend better players in our league.”

Louie Jackson is a sophomore center.

“Louie has improved on his range, but we really need his post presence on both ends,” Eads said. “He can be one of the better players in the league if he can have consistent effort. We want him to be such a threat that teams will have to double him in the post area.”

David Lee is a junior forward.

“With the loss of DJ Baldridge and Dante Rogers, David will be relied upon a lot at the power forward position,” Eads said. “We don’t have depth at that position so he will have to really stay out of foul trouble and help us in the post and the perimeter on both ends of the floor. David has the talent to really help us to a successful season.”

Javon Hawkins is a junior guard.

“Javon will really be relied on to create havoc on defense and attack the basket on offense,” Eads said. “He will have to really guard people without getting in foul trouble. Newcomers Chance Dockery (freshman guard) and Jalen’e Allen (freshman guard) will give us depth at the guard position. Chance can shoot the perimeter shot alright and Jalen’e will need to use his quickness on both ends of the floor.

“Konnor Gorman (senior center) gives us length on the inside and a rebounding presence. We are looking for some younger kids to stand out to use for the five quarter rule. We’ve had only a few practices with most of the guys there.”

Expectations are somewhat high.

“Over the summer, we felt really good about our depth and talent,” Eads said. “We’ve lost key players to transfer and some other things so we aren’t as deep but we do have kids that can play. I think we can still compete for the league and district but staying out of foul trouble, staying eligible and healthy are very important.

“Guard play, quickness are strengths and we should be good inside as well as all goes to plan,” Eads said. “Creating depth (is key).  We have a long way to go on the defensive end as well. We need some boys to step up to the challenge of playing varsity ball. The boys need to be eligible and do the right things at school.

“League favorites would be Brethren and Mesick. Marion, Manistee Catholic, Pentwater will be improved and MCE has one of the best guards in the league. I think we can compete with anyone on any given night, we have to be more consistent than last year.”

Eads added: “Each year we lose key players that transfer and we are still able to compete. This year is the same. We have some boys who really love the game, now we just have to play unselfish basketball and get better on defense.”