The Homewood High School boys basketball team finished off last season with a record below the .500 mark, going 11-14 on the season.
Even though the Patriots still made it to the Class 6A playoffs, they struggled to score the ball consistently thoroughout the season. But much of the team returns intact, with an additional year of experience and improvement in tow. That encourages head coach Tim Shepler.
“I like our group,” the longtime head coach said. “I think we’re going to be a really solid team this year. The kids have really worked hard in the offseason, and I like what we’re about this year.”
Much of the Homewood attack this year will run through senior forwards Christian Thompson and Donte Bacchus. They have both gained great experience over the last couple years and have continued to elevate their games.
“From all the learning that went on last year, there’s going to be a little more weight on their shoulders,” Shepler said.
Thompson played in the AHSAA North-South All-Star Game over the summer and now stands at 6-foot-8. He came on strong last season, averaging 15 points and 10 rebounds per game after Christmas.
In the case of Bacchus, he is looking to show off his all-around game this year. He is capable of shooting from beyond the arc and finishes with strength at the rim.
David Stone and Kiran McCool will be the primary backups to those two. Beyond them, Shepler said he has a host of guards that should all be able to contribute to the team’s success this season.
Carson Cole is new to the program this year and will be a solid player for the Patriots. J.C. Daniel and Louis Nanni are senior guards who will be productive. In addition to them, Carter Vail has experience on varsity as well. Clay Burdeshaw, Jake Dorough, Fred Armistead, Will Pope and Jake Stephens can all chip in as well.
“We have several guards that can shoot it,” Shepler said. “Last year, we really struggled from beyond the arc. We had some games we were struggling getting to 30 or 35 points.”
After seeing his Patriots play over the summer, Shepler is encouraged by the steps they have taken to improve from where they were at the conclusion of last season. If that progress continues, Homewood will be formidable this year.
“I’ll be interested to see the jump we’ve made, even from the summer to the season. Our guys have worked hard and grown since summer. How much so, I don’t know yet,” Shepler said.
The Patriots will have a pretty good idea of where they stand once the calendar flips to 2022. Homewood heads to Orlando for a tournament that attracts teams from near and far. The Patriots also play in Spain Park’s tournament and host the Metro Tournament before the new year. In regular season action, they take on Calera, Northridge, Pelham, Vestavia Hills, McAdory and Bibb County as well.
Homewood then takes on Class 6A, Area 9 play against defending state champion Mountain Brook, Chelsea and Briarwood.