Summer hoops: Opponents feel Yellow Jacket sting

Upcoming opponents of the Vincent High School boys’ basketball team have reason to be concerned with Yellow Jackets coach John Hadder’s recent remarks following a couple of summer games.

“We’re just trying to iron the kinks out,” Hadder said.

In the ironing process, Vincent has gone 8-0 in three separate basketball “play dates” this summer, including a 3-0 mark against a solid schedule June 22 at Thompson High School.

With four starters returning, combined with the return of B.J. Hamilton from an injury, the Yellow Jackets have shown few weaknesses that have plagued most teams this summer.

With Hamilton, who sat out the 2009-2010 season with a right knee injury, the Yellow Jackets feature a seasoned bunch of veterans. The experienced group including seniors Hamilton, Keyon Wallace and Ben McKinney, have made summer opponents look like rookies at times.

That slate of Vincent wins this summer includes a win over Class 5A power Talladega. The Yellow Jackets also played summer games at Pell City High School and Childersburg High School in June.

Vincent wraps up its summer schedule this weekend by participating in a slate of games at the University of Alabama’s basketball team camp.

Hadder said Hamilton, who is still playing at less than 100 percent, provides a spark for the Yellow Jackets.

“I don’t think he’s where he was before the injury,” Hadder said. “But he’s getting there. He’s getting more comfortable everytime we play.”

In addition to the Yellow Jackets, the play date at Thompson included Pelham and Montevallo.

It was the third stop in Shelby County for most teams, including play dates at Spain Park and Chelsea in early June.

The Hornets hosted a play date June 10 a strong field, including Thompson, Spain Park and Montevallo. Chelsea coach Michael Napp said the summer play dates give him an idea of what the team needs to work on before the 2010-2011 season.

The summer games also allow his squad to work on their skills in a competitive atmosphere in the offseason.

“It’s a time to build team chemistry and find out what your strengths and weaknesses are,” Napp said. “You can practice all summer, but it goes to a different level when you compete.”

“Us coaches, we don’t like to just practice, we like to compete too.”