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Posted On: 10/30/18 4:20 PM
Six wins opened the season and an unblemished 8-0 February provided the Golden Bears numerous high points. A loss to Bearden in Murfreesboro ended 2017-2018 earlier than hoped for, but certainly gave the many returning players a unique hunger.
Most of the key puzzle pieces are back. Unlike the previous season Mt. Juliet will be guard-dominated. The strength of the team is both perimeter shooting and also perimeter depth.
FRONTCOURT: Bryan Aiken is physical. Solid. Shooting touch isn’t his thing. Rebounding will be a strength as long as Aiken is on the court. Sophomore Riggs Abner, after playing an important role as a freshman, becomes the heir apparent to now-college freshman Isaac Stephens. Riggs Abner is the kind of player few middle Tennessee teams have. At 6-foot-5 he runs the floor like a deer and rebounds like a bulldog. Abner’s mid-range game deserves defensive attention too. Depth behind Abner and Aiken is bothersome from the outside looking in.
BACKCOURT: Senior Gavin Wilson buried an impressive six three-pointers in Mt. Juliet’s biggest win of 2018.
Feeding Wilson and super sub/starter Gage Wells will be Will Pruitt and JC Crawford.
JC Crawford gets full control of the offense after Jordan Lockridge graduated. Crawford is small and quick. He doesn’t threaten in the lane too much. If he drives, then he is passing or hoping. Crawford’s value is higher between the arcs.
KEY TO SUCCESS: Offensive rebounding. Together Abner and Aiken have the capacity to dominate the offensive caroms. Considering the frequency of three-pointers likely to flutter at the cylinder, Abner and Aiken need to each personally create second chances.
MOST IMPROVED: Will Pruitt. Recently evaluated at the PrepHoopsTN / Above the Rim Gym Fall Combine, Will Pruitt is so smooth and calculating with his movements. What Pruitt lacks in explosive first step he makes up for with fluidity and court savvy. Pruitt can play off the ball with JC Crawford, but he thinks and leads like a point guard.
Golden Bears’ Top Ten. Here are ten important games for Mt. Juliet.
2017-2018 Record: 27-8
Head Coach: Troy Allen
OUTLOOK: Mt. Juliet brings back a hearty helping of talent from their state quarterfinal run. Frontcourt depth is a concern, but four guards can all score. Twenty seven wins will be difficult to repeat. Considering both Gallatin and Beech lost a lot, the Golden Bears enter 2018-2019 as District 9AAA favorites.