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Today is the first day of practice for most boys b-ball teams in Indiana (those not quarantined). Pretty excited about this year’s Linton team. We’ll never know how far they could’ve gone last year, but I feel they’ve got just as good, if not better, of a chance of going far in the post-season as last year.  Two D1 players (3 if you count Pyne for baseball-IU), a VERY good incoming freshman, and a talented supporting cast should make for a fun year. We’ll be scrimmaging at Evansville Central Nov. 21, and will open with both Parke Heritage and North Knox on Nov. 28. 
Here’s hoping for a COVID-free basketball season!

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Linton should have plenty of talent... I will be interested to see how they mesh.  Right now... my best guess for the varsity would be...

Seniors- Lincoln Hale, Trey Goodman, Connor Cox, and Josh Pyne.  Pyne is a high energy player who brings athleticism.  They tried him at PG last year... I'm not sure it ever took.  I really like the way Cox plays.  He could carve out some time by just being an unselfish guy in the rotation.  Goodman had a really good performance in a Terre Haute summer league a few months ago.  He was slashing to the rim and hitting open 3 pointers.  He is a little unorthodox in his shot, but as long as they go in... does it really matter?  Hale will obviously be the star of the show.  There seemed to be a real effort to mold him into more of a PG... I'm not sure it went much better than the Pyne experiment.  At this level, he is a scorer.  I will be interested to see if that is still a focus.  I fully expect him to be a major part of getting the ball up the court, but finding open teammates is one of the few skills he hasn't really shown at this level.

The underclassman has some definite varsity guys, a few fringe guys, and the rest.  

Juniors-  Drew Smith is probably the only guy penciled in for varsity.  At 6'1" and 215 lbs. or so.. he is strong, plays good defense, and may be sort of pseudo PG in some sets.  His unselfish play and workmanlike approach will be important to keep the rest of these guys together.  Bracey Breneman is making a return to basketball after taking a year off.  He is also around 6'1"... He could be a good wing fighting for a spot on the varsity bench.  The other juniors are probably playing the year on JV.  

Sophomores- Joey Hart will be the #2 D1 level player on the Miners.  I'm guessing he is a legit 6'4". He has been really impressive when I have seen him in person and on tape this past summer.  As good as Lincoln Hale is... there will be times people will question whether or not Hart is not as good or a little better at the very least... more athletic.  I think he has grown out of his tendency to play timid, so Linton will have 2 legit 20+ ppg guys.  Another varsity level guy will be Logan Webb.  Webb looks to be creeping toward 6'3".  He is a physical guard who has looked really good going to the rim.  He can also knock down perimeter shots when he gets going.  I would call him more streaky at this point, but capable of scoring a bunch in a short time.  The key will be on how to convince him to stop shooting once one of his spurts are over 😉   That was sort of an issue last year on JV.  The rest of the Sophomore class has 4 guys that are likely a year away, but will battle for a varsity spot on the bench.  Nathan Frady is about 6'3" or 6'4" and maybe still growing.  His older brother just graduated, so it not crazy to think he may reach 6'6" or more.  Luke McDonald is about 6'1" and does some of the same things Trey Goodman does.  He can slash and score at the rim... looks like he has a good stroke from outside.  Jaxon Walker is 6'3" and a good athlete. He has always been a streaky kid... and his ballhandling seemed to be behind all the other guys in his class last year.  I will be interested to see if he has improved on that... Especially since there seemed to be an effort to make him a ballhandler last year.  Regardless, his length and athleticism could give him some opportunities to have a big year.  Wrigley Franklin is 6'2" and 220 according to the football roster.  He is more of a rebounding/defensive/passing guy at this point.  In some ways he reminds me of Drew Smith... he can impact a game without scoring.  Truthfully, all 4 would be fighting to be in a varsity rotation at most schools in the area.  For now... they will play a lot of JV minutes.  

Freshman-  Braden Walters will step into a varsity role early.  At 6'3" and a good athlete... right now his defense and versatility will set him apart. I see him as more of a Josh Dieball type player.  His offense is emerging, but he often takes the backseat to teammates.  He will likely take on the opposing teams best offensive player... unless it is someone with a lot of strength/power... then Smith likely gets the job.  He is unselfish enough and has developed his ball handling to the level... he could be sort of a de facto PG.  The rest of the Freshman class will likely play freshman ball with some occasional JV minutes.

Oddly, as I am writing this out... I don't think Linton will dress anyone for varsity that isn't at least 6'0" tall (asuming Pyne is really 6'0").  If I had to guess... Hale, Cox, Goodman, Pyne, Smith, Hart, Webb, and Walters will be the main varsity roster.  I'd pencil in Hale, Hart, Pyne, Walters, and Webb or Smith as starters.  Cox and Goodman will be solid subs with a host of other guys vying to dress and even play varsity.  Breneman along with the 4 other sophomores will likely be lobbying for the other spots on the bench.  At this point, I think the other Juniors would have to be way ahead of where they were last year (they do have one new face that hasn't played since JH)... and there isn't any Freshman ready... They will likely struggle to get JV minutes.  Of course, maybe someone will be way ahead of where they were last year.  

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Good synopsis. I would like to see Joey shoot a lot more given that he had probably the highest shooting % last year.  Lincoln will have to pass more if we are to have any hope of making it very far in the tournament. I think the addition of Drew Smith (along with Pyne) will give them a much needed boost in toughness and scrappiness. Also, Trey Goodman could potentially give them another shooter. I don’t think he’ll start, but he could come in and take some pressure off Lincoln and Joey. He will have to be guarded as I’ve heard he can hit the 3. Curious to see what the freshman (Walters) brings to the table. 

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