Posted On: 10/2/18 7:30 AM
The energy level was high from beginning to end at Olive Branch’s open gym workout on Monday. Each player was feeding off one another. Everyone seemed zoned in at practice, with the start of the season a month away.
The confidence on this season’s ‘Quistors team is high. Olive Branch seems to be carrying a chip on its shoulders even though it won the 5A state championship last season. The ‘Quistors don’t seem satisfied with just one championship season. A couple of the players such as Cameron Matthews and Joe Cooper are thinking about another successful season.
One isn’t enough for those guys.
“Ever since the night we won it, we have wanted to win another one,” Matthews said.
Olive Branch is long and athletic in the frontcourt with Matthews and D.J. Jeffries. Matthews is a 6-foot-5 small forward with the ability to play shooting guard if head coach Eric Rambough has to make a change. Jeffries, who’s 6-6, can get up and down the floor with anyone. Jeffries can score in the post but he’s more dangerous from the outside since he has been taking more shots.
In the backcourt, the ‘Quistors will rely on Wes Taylor and Joe Cooper. Both guards are quick, with standout ball handles. Both guards can shoot from the outside, which gives Olive Branch a lot of offensive power.
Rambough mentioned after practice that he’s expecting Matthews, Jeffries, Taylor, and Cooper to lead this team. A year of championship experience should help the rest of the team follow.
Here are four observations from Olive Branch’s open gym workout:
Joe Cooper and Wes Taylor have a great bond
Sometimes great chemistry on a basketball team doesn’t always take place on the hardwood floor. Guards Joe Cooper and Wes Taylor have great chemistry off the court, which makes their connection on the court a lot easier.
“We’re like brothers on and off the court,” Cooper said. “We know what the other one is going to do on the court. We are real dangerous.”
D.J. Jeffries’ outside shooting makes him almost unstoppable
Everyone who has seen D.J. Jeffries play knows he’s hard to contain. Since last season, Rambough has preached to Jeffries about taking more outside shots. During a scrimmage on Monday, Jeffries took more outside jump shots than dunks. The senior forward made a lot of outside shots, which was a good sign for the team.
“He’s a big part of our offense. We run our offense through him most of the time,” Cameron Matthews said.
Olive Branch adds freshman forward Jaylen Webb
Coach Rambough probably doesn’t need any more bodies in the frontcourt but he has another player to use in freshman forward Jaylen Webb. Webb is a 6-8 forward that enrolled into Olive Branch High School after the school year started. Webb, who’s from Atlanta, Georgia, won’t be eligible to play with the team until Christmas.
The ‘Quistors have a tough schedule ahead
If Olive Branch wants to repeat as state champs, it will have to go through its gauntlet of teams on the schedule. The ‘Quistors will have to play Memphis East, Bartlett, Center Hill (twice), and Simeon Chicago, along with other tough opponents in small tournaments.