Much like their counterparts across the county, the Mayfield Cardinals will be tasked with repeating their successful 202018-202019 season as new head coach Payton Croft takes over the reigns of a program that graduated multiple key players.
Croft is taking over for former head coach Chris Guhy who retired following the Cardinals' historic postseason run last spring in which the Cardinals finished the season hoisting both the Third District and First Region championship trophies.
This season, Mayfield will look to recharge rather than rebuild as seniors Kade Neely, Alonzo Daniel and Tony Parrott look to take over leadership roles for the Cardinals.
With the season just around the corner, Croft says he and his team are excited about the abundance of opportunities their team will have this season.
"I think the excitement within our players and team is opportunity," Croft said. "We had nine seniors graduate from last year so after losing them that gives opportunities to freshmen, sophomores and juniors to step up and take on a new role on the varsity team. For me, [I'm excited] about the change, it's something that is new and I've really enjoyed getting to know our guys and our team. I think the athleticism and competitiveness that this school brings really excites me for the upcoming season."
With this opportunity comes responsibility, and one of the biggest reposibilities the Cardinals will need to address sooner rather than later is where their offensive production will come from.
Mayfield graduated its three leading scorers in Connor and Carson Guthrie and Desean Jones.
The Cardinals will more than likely look for increased production from Neely who stepped up when it mattered most last season at the CFSB Center in Murray, during the First Region Championship.
Neely exploded for 15.7 ppg in the three game tournament, almost doubling his season average of 8.6. If Neely can keep up that same pace this season, the Cardinals will be in good hands.
When it comes to role players, Mayfield has plenty of options to choose from.
Guys like Deangelo Brooks and Colby Kennemore have waited patiently for their chance to play big varsity minutes and during their wait they've prepared in big ways. Both players have added weight in the offseason while improving in multiple areas of their game.
Pairing players like Brooks and Kennemore to a roster that already boasts athletic names like Kolbe Morris, Daniel, Neely, and Parrott gives the Cardinals a chance to be one of the deepest teams in the First Region this season.
While big names and expectations may excite, Croft says his team still needs to learn how to play with one another in order to be successful this season.
"For us, cohesiveness within our team is huge," Croft said. "Right now we still have a lot of our guys on the football field. If things go the way we'd like we'll get one practice in before we play Paducah Tilghman. That would mean our football team would win a state championship and that's the goal, we want to see our guys succeed. Success breeds success so the more successful those guys are out there the more successful we'll be. Ultimately, we need to get our guys out there and get them game experience especially since we don't have a lot of guys with varsity minutes at the moment"
When it comes to early season strengths and weaknesses, Croft says his team is crashing the boards extremely well and admits his team could use a few more shooters as soon as possible.
"Overall, rebounding the basketball on both sides of the floor is going to be a strength for us. We're athletic and have guys with a nose for the ball. Anytime you're talented in that area, you're going to give yourself a chance to win. We did lose some shooters from a season ago, so we're definitely going to have to work guys on becoming better shooters. A lot of teams may try different things against us defensively so having shooters across the court will help break down some of that stuff."
At the end of the regular season, Croft says he expects his team to put themselves in a position to shakes things up in the First Region.
"In the end there's going to be just one happy team in the state of Kentucky," Croft said. "In saying that, I feel like in our region we'll be athletic and competitive enough to give ourselves opportunities to surprise some people when the end of the year comes. I expect us to compete at a very high level and give ourselves a chance to be one of the teams that are being talked about potentially making a run."
Mayfield will open up its season on the road at Paducah Tilghman on Tuesday, Dec. 10.
#23 Kade Neely Sr.
#2 Kolbe Morris Sr.
#5 Ethan Tynes Sr.
#21 Diaz Perry Sr.
#4 Alonzo Daniel Sr.
#3 Tony Parrott Sr.
#15 Bryce Lawson Sr.
#11 Nelson Browning Sr.
#13 Deangelo Brooks Jr.
#1 Colby Kennemore Jr.
#22 Nathan Watkins So.
#25 Jax Rogers So.
#35 Sam Stone So.
Mayfield Boys' Basketball 2020202019-2020 Schedule
Dec 10, 2020202019 Paducah Tilghman Away 7:30 PM
Dec 16, 202019 St. Mary Home 7:30 PM
Dec 17, 202019 McCracken County Home 7:45 PM
Dec 2020, 202019 Carlisle County Home 7:45 PM
Dec 21, 202019 Fort Campbell Away 7:30 PM
Dec 27, 202019 Livingston Central at Calloway County Murray Bank Tipoff Classic
Dec 27, 202019 Fulton County at Calloway County 10:00 AM Murray Bank Tipoff Classic
Dec 28, 202019 Calloway County Away 4:00 PM Murray Bank Tipoff Classic
Jan 3, 2020 Hickman County Away 7:30 PM
Jan 4, 2020 Community Christian (Paducah) Away 6:30 PM
Jan 7, 2020 Ballard Memorial Away 7:30 PM
Jan 9, 2020 South Fulton, TN Away 7:30 PM
Jan 10, 2020 Graves County Away 7:30 PM
Jan 13, 2020 TBA at Mayfield 1st Region All "A" Classic
Jan 24, 2020 St. Mary Away 7:30 PM
Jan 28, 2020 Paducah Tilghman Home 7:30 PM
Jan 30, 2020 Murray Away 7:30 PM
Feb 1, 2020 Crittenden County Away 4:00 PM
Feb 4, 2020 Calloway County Home 7:30 PM
Feb 7, 2020 Ballard Memorial Home 7:30 PM
Feb 11, 2020 Fulton County Home 7:30 PM
Feb 14, 2020 Graves County Home 7:30 PM
Feb 17, 2020 Fulton County Away 7:30 PM
Feb 18, 2020 Marshall County Home 7:30 PM
Feb 21, 2020 Hickman County Home 7:30 PM