December 18, 2009 9:52:00 AM
Greg Carter is anxious for this weekend.
The Starkville High School boys basketball coach knows his team is off to an impressive 8-0 start and is ranked with the best teams in the state.
But Carter also knows that while the Yellow Jackets have two standout players -- Rashad Perkins and Edward Townsel -- the rest of the squad is young and full of promise.
That''s why Carter wants to see how Starkville fares at 4:50 p.m. today when it takes on Tuscaloosa Central, Ala., and Provine at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Provine, a Class 5A school, is considered one of the top teams in the state.
Carter believes his team has the potential to be a special group like Provine, but the more tests his squad can pass the better prepared it will be to make a run to Jackson, the site of the state finals.
"We''re still getting better," Carter said. "We have a lot of inexperienced guys on the team who need game experience more than anything. We need as much game experience as possible, but it seems like each game we have been improving."
Perkins, who recently signed to play basketball next season at Southern Miss, is the team leader. Carter said he and Townsel have played well, even if they haven''t had prolific scoring nights. Perkins had 29 points in a victory last week against Grenada.
Carter said Perkins and Townsel are providing valuable leadership because sophomore Jacolby Mobley and Gavin Ware don''t have as much experience at the varsity level.
Jaquez Johnson, Craig Armstead, Stanley Childs, and Brandon Johnson also are working themselves back into basketball form after playing with the football team.
"We have the potential to be really good," Carter said. "I think this team is talented, but talented teams don''t always win, so we have to be a little more than talented. We have to execute. Once we get all of the intangibles together and get on the same page we have a chance to be really good."
Carter said he has seen flashes of that potential. The key, though, is consistent, and that should be tested today against a traditionally strong program in Tuscaloosa Central. If it isn''t, Carter knows Provine and forward Jalen Courtney, a LSU commitment, will provide a challenge.
"The tournament is going to provide a measuring stick and show us what areas we need to improve to help us where we want to go," Carter said.
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.