West Brunswick will open the basketball season by hosting the third annual Late Night at West on Friday, Nov. 18 in the Trojan gymnasium.
Doors open at 6:45 p.m. The first 100 fans will receive a Late Night T-shirt.
Along with a deejay, the West Brunswick dance team and cheerleaders will perform and then the varsity girls’ and boys’ basketball teams will be introduced, followed by scrimmages by each team.
West Brunswick varsity boys’ basketball coach Aaron Taylor will have an experienced, senior-led squad for the 2022-23 season, including a starting lineup of J.J. Cobb, Jordan McCall, Kevon Daniels, Carson Pope and Quincy Hankins.
“J.J. Cobb, who’s a four year starter for me at point guard. Probably the fastest kid in the conference. He has learned how to be pretty physical and balanced. Then we have another guard who has been with me for three years, Jordan McCall. We’re going to move him more to the off guard position and try to get him a lot into transition. He’s probably the best on-ball defender that I’ve ever coached before. It’s tough whenever he’s on you. He causes havoc at that guard position,” Taylor said.
“At the three position, who we’re moving to the three this year is Kevon Daniels. He’s our only All-Conference returner. We’re moving him from the four to the three. He will play some post, but he’s going to be more of our hybrid guard. Sitting at 6’2” and 200 pounds, and can run and move the way he does, he’s pretty tough to guard.
Then at the four position, we have another senior in Carson Pope. He had a big year last year, he kind of had a breakout season. He’s probably grown about an inch or two as well. And he’s put in the work this offseason, so we’re hoping for a big season from him as well. And then, we get our center back, Quincy Hankins. He’s 6’6”, long arms, athletic and can run the floor, can jump, plays defense really well, times up blocks. He came along toward the end of the year really well and won us some pretty tough games at the end of the year last year. I’m hoping for a pretty big season out of him coming up.”
Taylor is also looking forward to a good year from his five other seniors off the bench. “We’ve got Cam Coble, who I think this year is going to be our sleeper pick this year. I’m hoping to get about 6-8 points out of him a game. I think he’s a kid that no one’s really expecting anything from. He busted his butt this offseason. He also grew about four inches. I’m expecting him to steal some minutes this year. We have Chiz Mastery. he’s kind of our quiet leader. He’s one of those kids who does everything right. He’s the one who, when I turn my back, he’s helping a kid. He’s teaching someone a play. He’s not always the most vocal kid or he’s not always the one that’s going to jump out to you. But he’s that guy that if I go to and tell him to get something done, he’s the one that everyone trusts to get stuff done,” Taylor said.
“We have newcomer Jason Smith, a 6’4” big man who can put his head above the rim. A great football player but he ended up breaking his arm this year. He was having a great season at the beginning of the year. He came out and surprised us at try-outs. I wasn’t expecting to keep him but he came out there and was probably the most athletic kid we had in the gym at the time. We’ve got to bring his basketball IQ level up to some of these other guys, but he’s going to go in there and, he’s going to steal some minutes from some guys.
“Cylil Lee, who’s been a shooting guard for me for the past three years at the varsity level. He’s one of those kids that, if he hits one or two three-pointers, he’ll go off for 27 points. You just never know. What we’re working on with him is to be a little bit more consistent, shooter-wise. We’re moving him mainly to the two position, understanding his role is to shoot the basketball and play good defense. One thing that we’re trying to find is that second or third guard that can shoot the basketball for us. Out of Cam, Chiz and Cylil it’s kind of up for grabs for one of those seniors.”
“And we brought up a guy who was our manager last year and did everything right that he was supposed to do this offseason, his name is Timmy Frink. He’s a great kid. He works hard. We’re hoping that he can be a vital point with our team, helping our kids at practice and just pushing them every day.”
Taylor also has a group of juniors he has high hopes for this year and next.
“Our junior class (includes) Aiden Brown. He’s a big kid, 6’3” and 215 pounds, just a bruiser. He moves his feet well. He’s got a decent touch around the rim, rebounds the ball really well. We’re hoping that he can step up in places when Quincy and Carson get in foul trouble. We’ve got a junior named Kaden Bryant. He’s about 6’4” with probably about a 6’6” wingspan. He’s left-handed. Really raw. Last year was his first year playing organized basketball. He’s kind of a project. Someone that we’re hoping can be beneficial next year for us as long as he understands and picks things up as we go. He’s another kid that, when he jumps, he’s looking down at the rim. I’ve never had this many kids that can play above the rim like they can,” Taylor said.
“We got two transfers in, Josiah Johnson, he’s (Assistant coach and former North Brunswick head coach Jeff Johnson) son, who came from North. He’s a 6’1” point guard. He’s another kid that we’re expecting, if J.J. gets in trouble and with all these other senior guards we’re moving, we want Josiah to jump in there and be able to steal some minutes and run the team as a point guard. We’re not looking for him to score many points, we’re expecting him to play good defense and put people in the right position to make the right play for us. The next kid is a kid that I’m very excited about, Tristan Roberts. He transferred from (Southeastern) Christian Academy down the road. You look at him in the gym, he’s probably 6’2”, 200 pounds of straight muscle. He shoots the ball really well. Plays solid defense. Another kid that plays above the rim. He takes one step and he’s putting the ball down. I’m very excited to see what he can do.”
Brian Slattery is the sports editor for The Brunswick Beacon. Reach him at 910-239-7433 or firstname.lastname@example.org.