Basketball practice at LaFayette High School officially started on Monday afternoon, October 19 but the defense of their Class 2A title began long before then in workouts. “The kids have been conditioning for the past five, six weeks,” says head coach Obadiah Threadgill during a recent interview with this reporter. “About 70 percent of this year’s team plays football so we’re looking forward to getting those football players back, hopefully they all stay healthy,” said Threadgill.
The first practice of the season usually gives the coaching staff plenty of reasons to work on fundamentals even for a reigning state champion. According to coach Threadgill the morning session-practices are regularly held after school at 3:30 pm-was just a way to get to the team together and see who was ready for the title defense and who may have their mind on other pursuits. “It was a promising first day of practice,” said the Tuskegee University alumnus and 12th year coach-Threadgill had previously coached at Beauregard High School. “We have some guys that are committed to excellence and are trying to do everything the right way.”
There were only seven players at practice last week so the team went through drills and team building exercises for an hour and forty-five minutes. The rest of the “basketball” players are expected back on court as soon as the football team is done with their final regular season football game at home against Saks on Friday and with the playoffs. “I support football,” said Threadgill, “We won a state championship last year coming off of a 1-9 football season so I’m hoping that we can do the same this season coming off of a successful football season.” As theories go that doesn’t sound like bad logic at all.
The Bulldogs are currently 6-3 and have six players that are all set to get quality minutes for the basketball team this season. Along with football players Shanethesis Williams, JaMarquez Boston-Gaines, Nicholas Beaty, JaTarvious Whitlow, DeVantae King and Quentin Ray, there are also a few new additions to the team that are expected to make an impact. “We have a couple of transfers in from Florida, Valley and Roanoke (AL) that will most certainly contribute,” says Threadgill who was named the 2015 Class 2A Coach of the Year by the Alabama Sports Writers Association. “Our kids need to know that there’s competition for their spots in order to get the best out of them.”
The loss of senior power forward Trevond Barnes, who signed with Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia, will not be easily replaced, you don’t find 6’8” scoring machines around town too often so Threadgill and his staff are going to continue preaching team ball and defensive intensity. A full practice roster would be helpful though. That opportunity will come as the basketball regular season creeps closer and closer beginning in Seale, AL on November 19 against Russell County High School. The title defense begins and so the journey to what may very well be another title. “It’s a process, we’re running a marathon not a sprint,” said Threadgill. “I spend as much time coaching about character than I do X’s and O’s,” he says. Now if only we can get ten players on the practice floor.
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