Twitter: @MHSLancerBBall

 

Manchester High School

Midlothian, VA

Classification: Class 6, Region B

 

Even though there was a delayed start in the week due to severe weather, I finally had the opportunity to embark on my Phenom Hoop's Open Gym Tour! I'll be traveling to various schools throughout both the Northern and Central Virginia regions to get a look at their respective basketball programs. My first stop took place at Manchester High School (Midlothian, VA).

 

Veteran-Laden

Head coach Josh Karlson will have a highly experienced unit this season with several seniors leading the charge for the Lancers. The veteran group has their eyes mainly set on making a deep run in the postseason, Getting past the first round of the playoffs has been a primary hindrance for the team during the last few seasons, specifically. Reliance on the seniors will play a large part in the Lancers' success; Karlson has complete faith in the group that they'll pave the way with their leadership, skill, and knowledge of how to set the tempo for the season.

'We had some up and downs last year but, for this season, we're instilling the mindset of winning every day we get to be together from now until the season. You have to win each 24 hours you're blessed to see,' Karlson explained.

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Gym Rats

It didn't take long to notice how much the team loves to play. Once pickup games started rolling, after some conditioning, the players made sure to get in as many as possible. No time was wasted in goofing around; the team made it clear they wanted to get in as much court time as possible. Having a roster of guys that love to be in the gym proves essential to a successful team. The Lancers shouldn't have to worry about that aspect at all during these offseason workouts, which technically are not mandatory.

'One of the most satisfying things I noticed last spring was how the guys got back in the gym immediately after the season had ended. You could tell they didn't want it to be over. Having guys with that mindset is always a good thing,' Karlson noted.

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Ones to Watch

Alquis Smith '19

Smith will again serve as the primary floor general for the Lancers in his senior campaign. The 5'9' guard averaged close to 11 points per game last season and brings several different attributes to the floor. His most important role, however, is acting as the 'heart and soul' of the team.

'What Alquis make lack in size, his heart is twice the size of his body. He's tough as nails,' Karlson stated.

Smith impresses mainly in his shooting range and handle currently. He shows great comfort in looking for his shot, mainly in three-point territory, as well as slicing through defenders to get the rim and find open teammates. He also showed an ability to throw long cross-court passes and pickpocket opponents. After performing exceptionally well in L.C. Bird's hosted summer league, in which he earned second team all-league honors, Smith's confidence appears to be at an all-time high heading into his last go-around.

Joe Moore '19

The 6'5 wing showed some of the most versatility in the gym during my visit. He already has a college body, complimented with an impressive offensive skillset. At his size, Moore contains a reliable handle that aids him in getting wherever he wants to on the floor. His shooting has improved considerably; he now shows no hesitation in launching the long ball. Moore's finishing ability stands as arguably the most impressive right now. Once he gets in the lane, expect him to attempt in throwing one down. He had at least five or more dunks during the open gym. After a solid summer with East End Explosion, on the Adidas Silver Gauntlet, Moore has started to hear from a couple of college coaches. He definitely will play as a key asset for the Lancers this winter.

Ben Young '19

One of the senior captains for last year's team, Young plays the role as the defensive anchor for the Lancers. His ability to guard different positions on the floor and defensive IQ stands out as his best qualities. Young possesses great strength for a high schooler and uses it to his advantage nicely whenever he spots a mismatch. Standing at 6'4', he plays more of a wing who can rebound and take it the rim in few dribbles, especially when driving baseline. His shooting still remains fairly underdeveloped but is progressing by the day.

Brandon Majette '19

Majette did not make an appearance during the open gym, as he's currently participating in football. The dual-athlete played a heavy role for the Lancers' offense last year; he has a natural feel for the game in how he puts the ball in the basket. After collecting second team all-conference honors last season, one should anticipate an even bigger year from Majette come season time.

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Outlook

With last season now behind them, Karlson and the Lancers have great excitement for this senior-driven group. Many will most likely agree how experience in sport makes a huge difference once games start to unfold. Having a big group of seniors would delight any coach, so I definitely understand both Karlson's anticipation and expectations.

'We're excited. Simply put. Can't wait for it,' Karlson said, with a smile.

 

 

 

Soon enough, the Lancers will be ready to lace them up!

 

 

 

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