"It's All About The Game"
Old Heads will lead Bulldogs early
Ron Bailey, Publisher
PG 4A team's vets must lead until younger guys get sea legs.
October 23, 2013 - Despite player graduation and defections, head coach Cedric Holbrook and the Bowie Bulldogs just keep pushing forward, competing in the talent laden Prince George's County 4A league. This year, expect the same.
"We lost four of our top rotation" to graduation or transfer, relayed Holbrook via telephone recently. This year's team has seven underclassman who are playing in the DMV Elite Fall League, and as such have a good chance to make the final roster. "We're talented but young on the front line".
The 2013-2014 pack of Bulldogs will rely on a trio of fourth year guards to lead the way, driving Holbrook to surmise "Our senior guards have to carry us while we grow our young kids". That means besting last year's 15-11 mark will largely hinge on Dejuan Smith, Jared Gray and Corey Washington.
Smith is the two guard, the bucket getter, a player that can tickle the twine from outside or drive, in a 6'2", 170 pound frame. Gray, a 5'10", 165 pound up tempo scoring point guard is more than capable of both finding and dropping points. The team's wild card is Washington; a strong 5'10", 180 pound combo guard, Corey competes and is physically capable of doing just about anything a guard must do, including scoring, defending and assisting.
Dejuan Smith vs Jared Gray in pickup ball.
Holbrook, in his sixth year at Bowie's helm is confident in the trio's ability to win games: "I personally think they are one of the best backcourts in the county, especially public schools".
Anthony Barnes, Jr., or 'A.J', , a 6'5", 193 pound sophomore forward is one of the guys whose eventual effectiveness is key for Bowie, leading his coach to say "He's going to have to be ready". Barnes is long, competes, and has a budding post game.
Add Charles Massey to the 'need to step up' frontcourt list. A junior standing 6'4" and weighing around 175 pounds, Massey is an aggressive player that will bang, rebound, defend and provide interior presence.
The forwards are not the only young, talented players that need to step up. For instance, freshman Jalen Robinson, a 6'0", 150 pound freshman combo guard is tracking as a future standout, but the Bulldogs could use him as a rotation contributor this season.
Bowie's early season schedule crystallizes the need for Holbrook's three amigo guards to lead the way, and the necessity of other, less experienced players to favorably impact the Bulldogs. Out of the blocks, PG's 4A offers a December 10th home date with Flowers, followed in succession by Suitland (12.12), at Wise (12.17) and two days later a battle with defending champion Roosevelt.
Prior to this murderers row of games, Bowie is slated to play in the DMV Elite Holiday Tip-Off Classic. Around Christmas another out of league challenge presents itself in the form of Oakland Mills' Winter Tournament, a confab in which Holbrook's crew will plays Oakland Mills, then either Baltimore's Poly or state finalist from B'More County, New Town. After that competition, it's back home versus a talented 2A/3A Duval team.
Having seen a lot as a coach, Holbrook's goals for 2013-2014 are measured. "I want to see these kids improve" indicated the coach. "I've seen improvement, and want to see it continue".
If his charges can do that - including executing the program's pressing, full court defensive schemes - while individuals emerge, the Bowie Bulldogs can be successful by any yardstick.
Dejuan Smith - 6'2", 170 pound senior shooting guard - Glenville State has offered Smith, a scorer who can shoot and drive. West Chester, Concordia and Georgian Court have expressed interest.
Smith needs to get stronger for college, if he's to be a two man. Must also focus on defense more.
Jared Gray - 5'10", 165 pound senior point guard - Gray can put the rock in the hole and find teammates for scores, but needs to display more leadership. "I have to be more vocal" admitted Gray, "take control".
There is a possibility Gray could join Smith at West Chester, a prospect both guys find interesting. North Carolina-Greensboro and Radford have inquired, while Johnson C. Smith, Georgian Court, Washington Adventist and others have shown interest.
Anthony "A.J." Barnes - 6'5", 193 pound sophomore forward - He needs to get stronger and polish his footwork, but Barnes competes. His long arms and mobility are also a plus on defense.
Jalen Robinson - 6'0", 150 pound freshman guard - Holbrook said of Robinson he believes the freshman "has a chance to be very special in time". From seeing him play it's clear why, as Jalen is a smooth scorer that can shoot, drive and uses slick moves to finish.
He must get stronger going forward, which will enhance him taking bumps, defending and athletically. Robinson should also mix more passing into his game, rounding out his offensive attack.
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