Posted On: 06/13/18 9:18 AM
Unfortunately, the Bartlett Panthers were one game shy of making it to the state tournament, but thankfully, their entire team will be returning this upcoming season. With the team eager for another opportunity at state, the Panthers will heavily depend on 2019 guards, Jefferson Walker and Sylvester Thompson.
To begin, Jeff Walker has changed his approach in comparison to last year. He understands that he has to communicate and be more of a vocal leader than what he showed last season. At 6’0, Walker is a pure scorer that tortures opposing teams at all three levels. He shoots the three comfortably and effectively, and he can maneuver through small spaces to get into the lane and finish lay-ups. On the defensive end, Walker plays strong, solid man to man defense and does not gamble too much. He had the pleasure of guarding Tyler Harris, University of Memphis incoming Freshman, in a four overtime thriller in the regionals and played him tough. Currently, Walker does not hold any offers, but hopefully, that will change soon.
Unlike Walker, Thompson is usually energetic and the catalyst for the Panthers. At 5’10, Thompson is a bouncy, athletic but under-sized guard that plays off the ball most times. He excels at driving to the lane and utilizing his athleticism to finish plays or at least draw fouls. On the other hand, Thompson has improved on shooting the ball from mid-range and three. He shoots the ball with confidence when releasing the ball now.Thompson’s best skill is his defensive pressure. Similar to Patrick Beverly, Thompson gets lower than the ball-handler and his hands are always active in search of a mistake, and he uses his body very well to keep ball-handlers out of the lane. Fortunately for Thompson, he has an offer from Blue Mountain College, a NAIA school, and interests from a few other Division 1 and 2 schools.
With these two in the backcourt, the Panthers will be solid on both ends of the court. Hopefully, the team can make another strong run as they did this past season.