I attended today’s practice over at Grimsley High School and today was not what you would call an easy day, by any stretch of the imagination.
The Whirlies were working hard and they need to. This boy’s basketball program led by coach Darren Corbett has gone 102-28 over the past two years when you look at the combined records of the 9th, JV and Varsity boy’s basketball teams at Grimsley. That again is 102-28 and the JV team was unbeaten either last year or the year before and they only lost one game the other year.
The Varsity boys have won the Metro regular season title and played for the tournament title in each of the past two seasons.
Grimsley has five young men currently playing college basketball, with Thomas Thornton at North Carolina and a member of the Tar Heels’ varsity team this year, after spending time on the UNC JV’s. David Dupont is at North Carolina and on the JV squad for his second year. Sharmar Bowden is at UNC-Charlotte or just plain Charlotte in most circles and Christian Tonkins is now at Montreat-Anderson, after starting out at Western Carolina. Keith Manley is in his first year as a member of the Gardner Webb Bulldogs and he will face off against Thomas Thornton and North Carolina in just a few days….
The Grimsley program has tasted success and Kennard Moore is another former Grimsley Whirlie that was playing up at college in Virginia the last few seasons, but I do believe his college career is now complete…..
With all that success, comes a desire to continue what those that have come before have accomplished and since the Whirlies only lost Manley, Max Miller and Michael O’Rourke off of last year’s squad, they will be deep again this season, but Grimsley is still young and that might be a good thing for Coach Corbett.
There is only one senior on this year’s edition of the Grimsley Whirlies and he is a very important one. Carter Gourley made the Metro 4-A All Conference team last year and he has been with the Grimsley varsity and pretty much starting since he was a freshman. Gourley has a steady and smooth outside shot and he will be a true team leader this season and along with junior Lee Sweeney, Gourley is among the hardest workers in the Grimsley practices….
Sweeney is a player that sets the tone for the Grimsley defense and he doesn’t mind doing the dirty work, which almost always involves him drawing the assignment of the covering the opponent’s top offensive player. Sweeney, along with Lay Lay Brown, is a defensive stopper and Sweeney also hits the boards and rebounds as well as anyone on this team.
Krechaun Williams, a junior, was also on the All Conference team last season and he along with Carter Gourley, will be counted upon to provide the bulk of the Whirlies’ scoring. You may remember that Williams got off to great scoring run to start last season and then cooled off a bit, but again this year the scoring load will fall on Williams and Gourley, the defense and rebounding leader should be Sweeney and the ball handler is, Burle Brown.
Brown played a lot after moving up from JV last year and he will set and lead the offense this season and one of his backcourt mates may be another Brown, Lay Lay Brown. Lay Lay plays ferocious defense and he has experience from last year on the varsity level. Battling with Lay Lay Brown for that fifth spot will be Mark Nadler and Jake Mulvey. Nadler also moved up from JV and saw varsity time last season.
Sophomores DJ Reader and Christian Hairston will also join in the rotation once Coach Corbett gets all his men into playing shape.
The top team strength for the Whirlies will be that depth and the only real weakness is the fact that the depth is, young depth…..
Grimsley is set to open play with their annual Blue/White game on Friday November 13 at 6pm and then the Whirlies will scrimmage Southwest Guilford at SWG on November 19, before starting regular season play on Tuesday November 24 at Northwest Guilford, with a game time set for 7:30. Grimsley and Page will play a conference game before the Christmas break this year, when they go at it on December 18 at Page……
Grimsley is again led by head coach Darren Corbett and he will be assisted by Charlie Barnes who has been at Smith and Page, by Evan Fancourt, a former Whirlie player who is now also in charge of the JV team and finally Mr. Grimsley Basketball Cedirc Cokely, who will be in charge of the 9th grade team.
Cokely is still among the all-time men’s leading career scorers at Grimsley and he went on to play in college at Appalachian State. Cokely has coached JV girls, JV boys, 9th grade boys and assisted with the Varsity teams at Grimsley for over 25 years…….