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Roundball Preview: Phelps Boys

PHELPS, Ky. (WYMT) -- The Phelps boys basketball team is coming off a season they want to forget. Having won just eight games and losing 21 was one thing; the off-the-court issues were another.

“I want to be a better person,” senior point guard Da'vontae Smith said. “As in, like, helping out, being able to be a leader, a role model, take the team to region, have a winning record and grow better as a person as myself with my character."

The Hornets think this season will be different because they are working as a team and not worrying about individual statistics.

"We got some pretty good players coming back,” senior forward Leon Blankenship said, “and we all have been good so it should be a good turnout this year."

The Hornets will open up the season with two home games but then spend a month on the road before returning home in the middle of January.

"The kids seem to get along pretty good and they all genuinely like each other,” head coach Bobby Varney said. “They hangout even after basketball practice and go to the volleyball games together so they seem to genuinely get along and there is nothing forced there.”

“I like their work ethic. You don't have to prod and force them to work hard as much as some previous teams we've had. They don't feel like they're owed anything. They all want to earn their spot.”

One positive is the depth Varney will have to work with in the 2013-14 season.

“We have 12 kids out right now, which is a good number for us,” he said. “We'll probably get 8 to 10 more after football so there will be good competition in practice, which leads to a better team."

"He expects a whole lot from me,” Elijah Branham, a freshman guard, said. “He expects me to shoot the ball more, be a good team player, move the ball, and do what he says. We always argued a whole lot last year. I mean, this year should be a whole lot better."

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