Posted On: 09/11/18 10:30 AM
Newton Mealer usually coaches a team that’s conditioned well enough to run a five to six player lineup. But for one of the rare times as a head coach, Mealer has a roster at Center Hill High School with, at least, nine players who will see the court this upcoming season.
Everyone knows how gifted senior Calvin Temple, 6-foot-1, is at point guard. It will be very important for Temple, who verbally committed to IUPUI on Monday, to stay healthy this upcoming season if the Mustangs want any chance of playing for the state championship. Senior shooting guard Kevin Henry is another special player who doesn’t have to score to have an impact on a game. Henry is the aggressor for Center Hill. He loves to play defense. Henry looks forward to the challenge of having to guard the opposing team’s best player.
Mealer calls Henry the “glue” to the team.
Uprising sophomore forward Kaeden Laws is one of the most talented frontcourt players for the Mustangs. He recently went on an unofficial visit to Ole Miss last weekend. Laws, who’s 6-4, will play an important role for Center Hill on the offensive end. One of the hustlers on the roster is senior point guard Cameron Goodwin, who’s considered as the player who’s going to outplay you on every possession, with him being only 5-8.
“Kevin Henry is so underrated,” Mealer said. “Kevin Henry can play Division 1, Division 2 basketball. In two years, Laws is going to be a stud. He’s a stud now. Cameron outplays people, outworks people, and that’s why he’s on the floor because he understands what I need out of him.”
The Mustangs have the necessary depth this season in the backcourt. Temple, Henry, and Goodwin will not have to stay on the floor all game thanks to the presence of junior guards Braxton Morris and Jacquez Hardin. Morris is a 6-1 point guard, and can allow Temple to move to shooting guard if they’re on the floor together.
Hardin, 5-10, can provide solid minutes off the bench. Incoming freshman point guard Jhamal Ross, 5-7, will battle with the rest of the guards for minutes on the court. Center Hill is talented enough to make it out of the 5A district without a scratch and play for the state title, but defending state champion Olive Branch is the only team that stands in the Mustangs’ way of getting there.
“I would be more-than-happy if we were both playing for that state championship,” Mealer said.
Center Hill played 33 games over the summer, and Mealer was happy with his team performed. Out of nowhere, the Mustangs got a transfer in from Lake Cormorant High School in senior point guard Kenneth Lewis, who averaged 18.2 points per game last season for the Gators. Lewis, 6-2, scored 18 and 24 points on Center Hill last season.
Lewis and his family just moved into the district where the Mustangs are, and Lewis has to wait to see if he will be eligible to play this season. Mealer mentioned he should know something this week.
“He’s going to make a difference,” Mealer said about Lewis if he’s able to play. “He gives us another weapon moving forward.”