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‘Group has potential’

Randolph-Henry High School’s varsity boys basketball team went 5-16 last season after three key seniors graduated and the team’s former head coach retired, but Head Coach Josh Haskins returns for his second year at the helm with five returners, four players called up from the junior varsity (JV) squad and confidence.

“I believe, as a group, we can definitely go out and surprise people with our play,” Haskins said. “The group has potential, but it will only blossom if they come into their own as a unit.”

The coach noted that he is not really putting expectations on them this year.

“The big idea that we are going by is just working hard, going about our business the right way, day by day, and good things will happen,” he said.

Varsity returners include junior guard Ryetwan Callaham, junior guard Brenden Francisco, senior center Reginald Bullock, senior guard/forward Jordan Pulliam and sophomore forward/center Christopher Redd.

New to the team from the JV squad are junior guard Justen Staten, junior guard Tyshaundre Walton, junior forward Johnathan Hughes and junior forward/center Hamza Aziz.

Haskins did cite some expectations that he has on an individual level. He expects Pulliam, “a guy everyone respects on the team, just to go out and lead by example.”

The coach also highlighted Bullock.

“My big guy,” Haskins said. “I expect (for) him to come into his own and be a major presence and influence on and off the floor.”

Lastly, Haskins said he looks for Callaham and Francisco to “be my vocal leaders, make sure things look the way they are supposed to so the others will follow their lead.”

The Statesmen open the 2019-20 season Monday, Dec. 2, with a 7 p.m. home game against Amherst County High School, a contest that Haskins said is big to him.

“It is always a big test to see how all of the preparation turns out with the product that is put on the floor,” he said. “Especially playing a school that is a few (VHSL) classes higher than us, how do we respond to the challenge?”