Blue Devils stacked with experience, depth
Taylor, Jefferson twins headline returners
HOPEWELL - The Blue Devils are tall, experienced and stacked with potential key contributors, and they’re returning players who have that experience of playing in the state championship game from two seasons ago.
Hopewell Boys Basketball is coming off a 16-8 season with several returners having gained key playing experience from that year. Faizhon Taylor, Malik and Jalen Jefferson, Sean Wallace, Izeah Parker, Travonte Jones they’re all coming back.
“We are more experienced,” said Hopewell Boys Basketball head coach Elvin Edmonds III. “Last year we only had one returning starter with limited depth. This year we have six players returning with significant game experience and no drop-off when we have to go to the bench.”
Taylor, with 16 points per game, has proven his ability to score at will, while Malik Jefferson, with 13 ppg and 10 rebounds per game, and his brother Jalen have both locked down the basket on defense and landed shots for points on both short and long distances.
The Jefferson brothers also have size - Malik is 6-8 while Jalen is 6-6 - and they’re not the only Blue Devils with standout height. Parker (6-8), Jones (6-4) and freshman Lamonta Ellis Jr. (6-3) all add to Hopewell’s tall look for 2017 and 2018.
“We will have six guys 6-3 or taller with good skill sets,” Edmonds said. “So our length will be our strength.”
In addition to Ellis, freshman Elvin Edmonds IV, Jamarion Brown and Antwone Blackwell are all joining this year’s edition of the varsity Blue Devils.
Also returning to the team are seniors Tyquan Young and JaQaun Dembo.
“We have scorers but we have to determine our defensive identity,” Coach Edmonds said. “Are we going to man to man, zone or pressing defensive team?”
While the postseason format has changed whatwith the elimination of conferences, Edmonds said the level of competition remains the same, although there could be longer-distance traveling based on seeding.
“District games are always fun and competitive,” Edmonds added. “Last year, from the top to the bottom there was not a lot of separation. So, you can expect to see excitement in the Central District.”
Edmonds also said: “This year we have a benefit game versus The Blue Ridge School that will definitely test our resolve.”