The Only Stat Line that Matters is…EFFORT
Yancey County Wins Phenom Hoop Cities 12U Championship
By Rick Lewis
Yancey County Cougars hail from the small town of Burnsville, North Carolina, which is located in the western part of the state, tucked between Asheville and Boone. Most of the players on the Yancey County team have played together for the past three years and the resulting teamwork and chemistry is their strongest attribute. They simply play so well together and are one of the more fundamentally sound teams you will find in the 12U age division. All the moving parts of the teams act as one and operate as a unit and it is a thing of beauty to watch. As one AAU coach stated, “Yancey County is fun to watch but a headache to play.” This one comment communicates so much about the play Yancey County exhibits on the court. Head coach, Anthony Randolph, remarked, “The kids are a dream to coach. They are the most unselfish bunch that I have ever been around. Most of them would rather have an assist than to score. On many occasions, I have had to challenge them to take their open shots instead of passing to a teammate (what a wonderful problem to haveJ). In the three years that I have been coaching them I have never had a kid ask me how many points they had scored. They all know that the only thing that sets us apart from anyone else is the effort that they give for each other and being able to work through the pain of exhaustion when most others will give up. We may not be the most athletic team but I will put our players’ basketball IQ and GPA up there with anyone’s. If I remember correctly, the lowest grade on any of our players’ report cards for the first 9 weeks was a 91.”
Coach Anthony’s team plays with discipline and structure that is the direct result of the leadership demonstrated by their head coach. Fittingly, their team motto is, “The only stat line that matters is EFFORT.”
Player Profiles for 12U Yancey County Cougars
5’9 Lucas Jenkins
Agile big that can put the ball on the floor and score, effective mid-range shooter, strong rebounder and defender that is not afraid to get on the floor. Runs the court well and can finish in a crowd. Plays as hard as anyone on the team and gives all-out effort.
5’3 Adam Keever
Very quick and athletic shooter that can take it end to end and finish. Very good ball handler and passer. Great feet. Quickly becoming one of the team’s better on the ball defenders. This is his first full year with Yancey County and he has transitioned beautifully.
5’0 Jalen Branton
A tenacious defender and the ultimate competitor. His motor never stops and he has great hand-eye coordination. Great penetrator and passer of the basketball. Yancey’s Mr. Hustle…just check out his knees when you see him J. Young kid for his class.
5’9 Cole Shehan
Athletic big that can run the court with anyone. He has incredible hands and can finish on the move with either hand. He is a great rebounder and is improving defensively. Tremendous upside if he continues to work hard. He has only been playing a couple of years.
5’2 Nathanial Ledford
Another young 6th grader for his class. He is one of the hardest workers in the group and is willing to put the time in to get better (and he will get better). He is a good shooter and is becoming more and more effective off the dribble. He is a very good defender who is willing to lay it on the line.
5’6 Callin Randolph
A well-rounded athlete who is best suited to the point. He is a multifaceted offensive player that can handle, shoot with range, penetrate, and pass or finish. He’s very unselfish and sees the court from end to end. Good defender and rebounder that loves to compete. High basketball IQ and plays all-out all the time.
5’5 Logan Higgins
Young 5th grader with a very high basketball IQ for his age. He sees the court as well as anyone we have seen, for his age. Very good ball handler that can penetrate and score or dish. Tough as nails defender and plays physical. Currently, he is recovering from a broken arm that was the result of a hustle play.
5’10 Justus Shelton
Great defensive big that is willing to mix it up. He is Yancey’s best inside defender. He understands the game at a very high level for his age. He has a great low post game and can finish with multiple moves and is the team’s best inside passer. Good pedigree, as mother was a college All-American and played in the WNBA.
5’2 JT Laws
Effective scorer, either as a spot-up shooter or off the dribble. Sees the court well and is a good passer. Has a high basketball IQ and is a much-improved defender.
5’1 Daylin Pritchard
Another young 5th grader, he is Yancey’s newest team member. He is an excellent ball handler and sees the court very well. He is a very good shooter and penetrator. Athletic kid with great feet. Has great instincts and understands the game at a high level for his age.
Team MVP and unofficial tournament MVP