Dru Powell Challenging Young Warriors Basketball Team Against a Tough 2021-22 Schedule
Dru Powell is in the midst of his fourth year as head coach of Thompson’s basketball program, but with many future multi-year starters already installed upon his arrival in 2018, the 2021-22 version is his own.
The Warriors are a young team bristling with talent, size and potential. Long range shooters dot the roster and athleticism won’t be a problem as the program’s JV units have yielded some exciting players who are just now starting to make their mark at Thompson.
Coach Powell wanted to challenge his new squad right off the bat and the boys have responded. The Warriors have been in every single game and haven’t backed down despite the top 10 teams they see on a weekly basis.
“It’s interesting because we’ve only got one returning starter on this team and there were only three guys on this team who were even on the varsity squad last year so we’re very inexperienced and anytime you have that with a challenging schedule it makes for a tough start,” said Powell. “We’ve already seen Lee-Montgomery, Mountain Brook, Northridge and Spain Park and Enterprise were Final Four teams in 7A last year. We’ve played some really good opponents and I’ve been excited with the way our guys have competed night in and night out and I feel like we’re getting better and gaining that valuable experience.”
Wes Roberson has blossomed in the offseason. A guy who always had great shooting range, the coaching staff believes his best bet is to drive and create off the dribble to open the floor up for his impressive shooting repertoire.
“Wes has had a good year, he can score at all three levels, he’s a smart player and he’s our leader,” said Powell. “What’s really improved his game is his ability to drive the ball inside the three point line. In the past he’s been more of a catch and shoot type guy and now he’s got the ability to put the ball on the floor and finish around the rim.”
Carson Pringle flashed his inside-out ability last year as a guy who plays with physicality in the post, but also displays great shooting touch. The coaches have been pleased with his development as he’s in the midst of the best year of his career.
“Carson is actually our leading scorer and rebounder and has come a long way,” says Powell. “He was on the varsity team a year ago, but didn’t get the minutes he might’ve liked so he’s put his head down and gone to work. He’s a great teammate and just having a really great season as well.”
Some new blood has given the program a boost with Tre Adolphus and Masiah Robinson moving up to varsity and taking on starting roles. The duo brings different qualities to the lineup and are sure to make moves as the season continues on.
“Tre is a quick, left-handed guy who played JV last year and has taken on a scoring role for us, but this good thing about this year’s team is when he’s off we have other guys who can score the ball and defend so it’s a very balanced team,” said Powell. “Tre certainly does have the ability to score some points really quickly and we’re looking for him to continue to improve as the season goes on.”
“Masiah is a big kid, he’s strong and he’s started every game at point guard for us as a sophomore,” said Powell. “Really runs our team, he’s a great defender, he uses his size and strength to gain edges on our opponents and a good rebounder from the point guard position as well so we’re really excited about his season so far, but more importantly about his future here.”
Powell sees things the team has to fix and the tough, early schedule has alerted him to some things that, if improved, can pay dividends down the stretch as the team heads into their area schedule.
“We’ve struggled rebounding the ball at times this year and we’ve got to improve on that collectively as a team,” says Powell. “I also feel like we have to understand we’re a team, we’re not one or two guys and it could be any guy any given night that can help us be successful so I️ think if we stay together and improve individually and collectively that will lead to our best chance of making another postseason run.”
Powell also has several other players that will fill big roles and be needed on down the line for the team to accomplish the goals they have. Landen Lawrence, Jose Gonzalez and even eighth grader Jay Green will see big minutes and will have to perform if called upon.
Lawrence is a valuable three-and-D player who gives the club leadership and experience of the bigger battles in his career. The savvy senior will often guard opponents’ best players in the backcourt, plus he’s another guy with good range beyond the three point line.
Gonzalez is a tall, wiry junior prospect who possesses range as well and, having made it through some tough contests in the trenches, can be a valuable piece who stretches defenses and can bang down low for rebounds when the team needs him.
Jay Green is the first eighth grader in Powell’s coaching career to receive such significant minutes. A gutsy young guy who isn’t afraid of the moment, Green is another underclasmen that has coaches excited about the future of this program.
As this team continues to grow and add pieces to their game, there’s a lot of reasons for Warriors fans to look forward to a competitive, athletic, young bunch when they come to Warrior Arena.