22-23 Winter Preview: Clinton-Massie boys basketball

Steve Graves begins his third season as the head coach of the Clinton-Massie boys basketball program.

Clinton-Massie was 5-9 at one point last season then lost seven of its last nine games to finish 7-16. The Falcons were 0-10 in the American Division.

Graves will be assisted this season by Mike Craig (varsity assistant), Andrew Ledley (reserve coach), Rod Charlton (freshman coach) and Logan Spriggs (program assistant) as well as middle school coaches Clayton Morgan (8th grade), Cordell Cordrey (7th grade) and Tracy Euton (program assistant).

The Falcons had Luke Engelhard, Carter Euton, Kody Zantene, Blake Ireland, Alex Jones, Lex Russell and Ethan Williams as seniors on last season’s squad.

Ireland and Euton both averaged around 9 points per game last year to lead the team. Zantene was the top rebounder (6.2 per game), Euton the top playmaker (3.5 assists) and Ireland the top defender. (2.4 steals).

Jerry Trout, now a junior, has been a two-year player for Clinton-Massie and is the top returning player. Graves said several of the first-year varsity sophomores will get an opportunity early to play at the varsity level. There also will be multiple juniors and seniors with zero varsity experience vying for playing time.

“The overall team morale … it’s been the best since I’ve been here,” Graves said. “We have guys that are trying to lead right now and I appreciate their efforts. However, we will find out who really are the leaders once some adversity hits.”

Graves is preaching “control the controllables” as his team seeks improvement. He knows the defense must get better but within that realm just “control the controllables.”

Graves said there are probably five players that weren’t with the team from the start because of football but most of the team has been working hard since September. “Which doesn’t happen often around here,” he said.