When the Graves County Eagles open up their 2019-20 season against Livingston Central on Monday, Eagles' Nest faithfuls may be in for a surprise.
The Eagles graduated a large majority of their team from a season ago, losing six of their seven top players including their top three scorers, Jordyn Naranjo, Ryan Mathis and Jacob Savage.
Heading into the season with a few role players returning, Graves County head coach Josh Frick believes his team has the chance to prove a lot of naysayers wrong.
"I think our guys, even though they're inexperienced, feel like they have a lot to prove, Frick said. "Expectations may not be as high as they've been the last three or four years, but the expectations here at Graves don't really change too much, we'll still be expected to win the district and compete for a regional title."
Graves County will look to senior power forward Seth Thomas for leadership and guidance throughout the season. Thomas is the Eagles' lone returner with significant varsity playing time.
Along with Thomas, 6-foot-6 senior Cade Babb will also be ushered into increased playing time as he looks to become a force in the paint and shows true potential to become a regular double-double scorer.
Other Eagles that will see increased minutes and will be looked upon for significant production include seniors Jameson Chalker and Caleb Oliver, juniors Race Richards and John Ben Brown and sophomore Mason Grant.
Despite limited practice time due to football season, Frick believes as the season progresses, so will his team.
"I think this is going to be an exciting year," Frick said. "I don't think the product you see in December will be the product you see in March. We should continue to evolve as a basketball team and we're excited about the growth this team has. We're just trying to get better every day. So far our guys have done that in practice and we want to be able to put ourselves in a position at the end of the season to win the district and give ourselves a chance to win the region.
"I think our guys will feel better once we are able to get some experience under our belts and get used to playing in big games and atmospheres. We've got some opportunities here early in the season that will really test our guys and will serve as a measuring stick to see where we're at and what we need to improve on. This season has the potential to be very rewarding because we have such a high ceiling."
With the season right around the corner, Frick is confident in his team's defense and says the offense will come together as players' get acquainted with on another.
"Right now, we feel like our defense is ahead of our offense so we've spent a lot of time on individual self improvement," he said. "Right now, we're just trying to get our offense in and get guys used to playing with one another and competing every single day."
Graves County Boys'
#00 Aydan Flint So.
#3 Mason Grant So.
#4 Caleb Oliver Jr.
#10 Jameson Chalker Sr.
#21 Austin Shea So.
#22 Conner Mills Sr.
#23 Race Richards Jr.
#24 Kendall Lawrence Fr.
#32 Seth Thomas Sr.
#33 John Ben Brown Jr.
#34 Noah Jones So.
#42 Drew Hayden So.
#50 Kade Babb Sr.
Head Coach: Josh Frick
Assistant Coaches: Matt Kimbler, Bill McNamara, DJ Pigg
Managers: Jonathan Burns
Graves Co. Boys'
Basketball 2019-20 Schedule
Dec 2, 2019 Livingston Central Home 7:30 PM
Dec 5, 2019 Massac County, IL at Marshall County 4:00 PM Marshall County Hoopfest
Dec 7, 2019 Herrin, IL at Marion, Ill. 6:00 PM Wildcat Shootout
Dec 10, 2019 Murray Home 7:30 PM
Dec 14, 2019 Paducah Tilghman Away 7:30 PM
Dec 17, 2019 Calloway County Away 7:30 PM
Dec 19, 2019 Ballard Memorial Away 7:30 PM
Dec 20, 2019 St. Mary at Trigg County 6:00 PM KME Christmas Classic
Dec 21, 2019 TBA at Trigg County KME Christmas Classic
Dec 27, 2019 TBA at Gulf Breeze, FL Innisfree Hotels Beach Basketball Tournament
Dec 28, 2019 TBA at Gulf Breeze, FL Innisfree Hotels Beach Basketball Tournament
Dec 30, 2019 TBA at Gulf Breeze, FL Innisfree Hotels Beach Basketball Tournament
Jan 3, 2020 West Creek (Clarksville), TN at Graves County 12:00 PM CFSB New Years Bash
Jan 3, 2020 TBA at Graves County TBA CFSB New Years Bash
Jan 4, 2020 TBA at Graves County TBA CFSB New Years Bash
Jan 7, 2020 McCracken County Home 7:30 PM
Jan 10, 2020 Mayfield Home 7:30 PM
Jan 17, 2020 Marshall County Away 7:30 PM
Jan 20, 2020 TBA at Massac County, IL Superman Classic
Jan 24, 2020 TBA at Massac County, IL Superman Classic
Jan 25, 2020 TBA at Massac County, IL Superman Classic
Jan 30, 2020 Calloway County Home 7:30 PM
Feb 1, 2020 McCracken County Away 7:30 PM
Feb 4, 2020 Paducah Tilghman Home 7:30 PM
Feb 7, 2020 Marshall County Home 7:30 PM
Feb 11, 2020 Ballard Memorial Home 7:30 PM
Feb 14, 2020 Mayfield Away 7:30 PM
Feb 18, 2020 Carlisle County Away 7:30 PM
Feb 21, 2020 Fulton County Home 7:30 PM