By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
0-0 career record
Coaching Staff: Rod Moxley, varsity assistant; Rich Graves, junior varsity and varsity assistant; DJ Hickle, freshman and varsity assistant; Will Yount, freshman assistant and varsity assistant.
2021-22 Record: 13-10 overall; 9-5 Suburban League American Conference.
Returning Lettermen (2): Gavin Leslie, sr.; Tyrel Ellington, jr.
Lettermen Lost (7): Jayden Reynolds, Seth Bowser, Dismal Leigh, Karim Butler, Kevin Ina, Blake Green, Collin Garner.
Controlled speed is what first-year head coach Curtis Black will be looking for.
“We will play fast, but not in a hurry,” he said. “We want to get downhill and spread the floor. We will have a very cohesive system, and I think we are capable of having a great blend of attacking off the dribble and shooting off of the kickout opportunities.”
Black takes over with a vision for the program that goes far beyond what happens on the court.
“We are positively building a culture of school and community leaders,” the Roosevelt graduate said. “This season is about competing night in and night out and setting the foundation of the program that we are building.”
Four juniors spotlight the backcourt for the Riders this season.
Jeremiah Lepp will run the point guard and Black considers him to be a “high IQ player.”
Tyrel Ellington is one of only two returning lettermen and will also be a team captain this year.
“He is extremely athletic and has the ability to make plays on both ends of the floor. He played football for the first time this past season and showed how electric he can be. He has been doing it every day since getting back on the hardwood.”
Grant Leslie is a strong guard that has shown the ability to get to his spots. He will also spend time at point guard.
Gavin Hockin is a sharpshooter that can get hot from deep.
Senior Gavin Leslie joins Ellington as the two returning lettermen. Leslie will also be a team captain.
“He has the most varsity experience of anyone on our roster,” Black said. “He is the soul of this team. He is not the loudest leader, but leads with his actions. He will be tasked with keeping our guys calm through their inexperienced moments.”
Another senior, Nick Shannon, joins the frontcourt and brings energy, passion and leadership.
Cayden Foreman, a senior, is a scrappy player who will “do whatever it takes to get the job done,” according to Black.
Senior Cameron Dent returns to basketball and brings toughness. Senior Charlie Martin is also making a return to the program.
“Charlie is a great teammate, and he will motivate all of our guys as well as lead them,” Black said.
Sophomore Ryan Slocum is the team’s tallest player at 6-foot-6 and is a defensive threat. Another sophomore, Carter Foreman, will miss the season with a torn ACL.
“We are only returning two varsity lettermen. This team has a completely different identity. We are guard-heavy, which is different than past years,” Black said. “Personally, this team is special to me because our seniors and juniors are the last two groups I coached in Kent as a middle-school coach.
Ryan Slocum, soph.; Michael Shannon, soph.; Jacob Noble, soph.; Carter Foreman, soph.
Make the investment.
“Just staying healthy and also being able to remain consistent through injuries and possible changes,” Black said.
“I feel as if our league is wide open this year and that everyone has a chance to contend for the league title,” Black said. “Last year was pretty close, with the top-four teams, and I can see that being a back-and-forth battle again this season.”