WILMINGTON — Practice for the 2016-17 winter sports season officially got underway this week and Port City Daily’s weekly Facebook LIVE sports broadcast went to Laney High School on Wednesday as Joe Cats caught up with Buccaneer’s Head Coach Nathan Faulk.
During the 15-minute conversation, Faulk talked about a number of things from the Buccaneers relationship building with Michael Jordan’s Jumpman brand, to the Hall of Fame shrine erected in the foyer of Michael Jordan Gymnasium on campus. Jordan, along with a handful of other players who competed or still playing pro basketball,attended E.A. Laney. They including WNBA veteran Tamera Young, European star Qwedia Wallace, who plays professional ball in Portugal and former NBA player Kevin Whitted.
Faulk gave Cats’ a tour of the locker room, commented on the final season inside the old gym, with Laney and Hoggard High Schools currently under construction as new basketball facilities are being raised on campus.
Laney High School has also hosted a number of showcase events from local players since Faulk has taken over the reign in Buctown. The program hosts its annual Fred Lynch Tournament during the summer and will house this year’s Big Shots Hoop Feast over Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 25-26, featuring teams from across the region.
Finally, Faulk addressed some of the challenges facing high school basketball programs this year due to the fact football season was extended by a few weeks because of Hurricane Matthew in October.
With many programs featuring two-sport athletes, including Laney, the test for basketball coaches early on will to not only have enough players in some cases to run a full practice, but to make sure their football players have enough rest and recovery time before getting on the hardwood. This means, if a football team goes to a state championship, Dec. 16-17, maybe even through the first few round of the playoffs moving toward theDec. 1, a team likely wouldn’t get those players on the floor until after the New Year.