It's been a long time since Southeast boys coach Carl Taylor has had this much youth and inexperience on his team.
But it's not the first time, so he won't change the program's annual goal.
The Buffaloes return one player with varsity experience and are especially young at guard.
"The varsity level is a lot tougher than JV or sophomore," Taylor said. "But just because they're young doesn't mean that my expectations have changed. They'll have to rise up and meet them."
Gavin Thurman and Kevin Gunter lead the youth movement. Thurman is a 6-foot-6 sophomore with explosive post moves. While he was on the varsity bench last season, he wasn't quite ready to play, Taylor said.
But this season is a different story.
"He's matured," Taylor said.
Thurman has more name recognition, but Gunter is just as talented, Taylor said. Also around 6-6, Gunter will be another youngster that Southeast will count on.
Joining those two down low is senior Joseph Randle. The lone player with varsity experience, Randle will be counted on for leadership.
An Oklahoma State football commitment, Randle's athletic ability will help the Buffaloes defensively and with rebounding.
The Buffaloes will need Randle's leadership ability as for the first time in years, they are without proven guards. Last season, Joe Mitchell and Cecil Shaw were the foundation of the team, and before that it was Adonis Gantt and Cortez Barnes.
"We'll have to play guard by committee," Taylor said. "It's the first year in a long time that I hadn't had at least one senior guard. We're young, but we'll be competitive."
Coach: Carl Taylor, 18th season.
Last season: 20-5, 12-4 CL (T2nd)
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Joseph Randle 6-2 Sr. F
Gavin Thurman 6-6 So. F
Kevin Gunter 6-5 So. F
Coach: LaToya Randle, third season.
Last season: 6-13, 6-10 CL (6th)
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Jamillah Bonner 5-7 Jr. G
Dana Gates 5-6 Sr. G
Tyana Clark 5-5 Sr. G
Tre’Awn Garnes 5-10 So. F
The Buffaloes have plenty of potential and coach Randle hopes that this is the year the team turns that potential into success. Southeast returns several players with varsity experience and Garnes returns from a knee- injury that cost her the rest of the season after year five games into the season.
“We have a very athletic group that can really get up and down the floor,” LaToya Randle said. “We continue to improve. We are making strides.” Southeast is guard-heavy with Bonner, the team’s leading scorer, back as well as Clark, the team’s best defender.