Basketball preview: Thompson Warriors

Published 9:48 am Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Thompson's Drew Thomas will be one of the key returning contributors on the Warriors' 2015-16 squad. (File)

Thompson’s Drew Thomas will be one of the key returning contributors on the Warriors’ 2015-16 squad. (File)

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

ALABASTER – Basketball season is approaching in a hurry, and to prepare we’re taking a crash-course look at a number of teams across the county before the season gets under way, just to have a small frame of reference to work off of. In this edition of the basketball preview, the focus is on the Thompson Warriors.

Patrick Davis is entering his 12th year with the Thompson basketball program, and seventh as the head coach. His Warriors finished last season with a 14-14 overall record in the tough 7A Area 5, an area that contains 7A defending state champion Hoover, Tuscaloosa County and Oak Mountain.

Rashad Strother is gone. The dynamic guard finished his career at Thompson with 1,031 points for his career and averaged 16.5 points per game as a senior. Obviously, the biggest question mark leading into the season is where are those points going to come from this season? The answer, fortunately for the Warriors, might not be that hard to find.

“I think this will be one of our most balanced teams,” Davis said in an Oct. 8 interview. “I think it could be a different guy every night. Rashad was going to be our guy every night in terms of scoring. We’re going to be more versatile and balanced offensively. We’ve got eight returning varsity players this year.”

Of those eight, four are guys who started at some point last season in Michael Freeman, Demonte Caffey, Drew Thomas and Reggie Chambers. Freeman is one of the biggest bodies Thompson has at a solid 6-foot-three-inches and has become accustomed to banging down low with bigger bodies and has developed a soft touch inside. Caffey is a spark plug of a guard, capable of knocking down six contested three’s in a row when he’s on. Thomas and Chambers both started every game a season ago and are both capable ball handlers who can slash, dish and defend with skill.

This Thompson team, like most all of Thompson’s teams in Davis’ tenure at the school, isn’t very big. There is some size on this roster, more than in recent years, but even so the Warriors simply aren’t going to go body-to-body with some of the 7A heavyweights in the Birmingham area from a size perspective. That’s not who they are or who they’ve ever been. Davis’ team will push the ball in transition, it will try and dictate the tempo of the game and run all over the place. It might look a little different in terms of defensive personnel this year, but the philosophy remains the same; push it.

“We are real process oriented,” Davis said. “We don’t set a win total goal or a ‘we want to make it this far goal’. We want to get better. I can take a loss and get better. We want to go out and play good teams, I’ve never been one to schedule 24 wins and not know where you are (in the playoffs).

Thompson’s first game this year is Nov. 12 at Chelsea.