THE HUNTED: Nimitz Has Big Line-Up; Big Expectations
THE BULLSEYE IS DIRECTLY ON THE BACKS OF THE NIMITZ COUGAR BASKETBALL TEAM.
After finishing second in district with a 10-4 record, the Cougars are the favorites to take the trophy in 2020.
But it's a lot different being the hunted, instead of the hunter.
"The key to my guys, and I know them pretty well, is chemistry," coach Nathan Toon said. "During a season you go through good and bad times – ups and downs. The stronger their bond is, the better they will stay together through the tough times. If they can do that, we should be pretty good."
Coach Toon's squad is loaded with athletes and it starts up front with senior Reggie Comeaux and junior Ashton Smith.
At 6-foot-5, Comeaux was the District Newcomer of the Year in 2019 and is as versatile as they come. At 6-foot- 8 and athletic, Smith could be the District's Newcomer of the Year this season. He has recently picked up offers from Houston, North Texas and McNeese State.
"It's a blessing and a big advantage to have size," Toon said. "They aren't just big, but athletic. It changes how you coach a little bit. We will play hard and try to play fast, but not too fast. We have to get our big guys their touches and get the ball to them in the spots they like. We are evolving as a team right now."
One of the keys to success will be the team's guard-play. Antione Rose will run the point along with Shamarr Lamark, who can both shoot from the outside. Rose was a second-teamer last year. Zavian Crosby will also add scoring from the perimeter. Jaylon Zink will contribute in the post when needed.
"We have some nice guards to put around our big guys, who can make shots and handle the ball," Toon said. "We want to play some inside- out and be very balanced on offense."
With the Redus-era over at Eisenhower, Nimitz looks to be in the driver's seat in District 16-6A. Westfield and Davis will be coming after the district title also, making the Cougars playoff ready.
"We have high expectations as always," Toon said. "We have guys who have played a lot of minutes. We play in a tough district, so we have to be ready every night. Our No. 1 goal is to get into the playoffs. Next, is to advance to the Regional Tournament. That's the goal.
"Yes, there is some pressure there, but pressure is a good thing – it means you have the potential to be really good."