The Enterprise State Community College Boll Weevils finished up a series of in-state offseason scrimmages last month as they prepare for what is expected to be a grueling 2021 season.

Typically ESCC begins the season in November and wraps up in February, but this year the season doesn’t even start until January. That will mean ESCC is likely going to play every night or every other night for two months.

“Working hard and keeping the guys in shape is the key,” ESCC coach Jeremaine Williams said. “Playing 24 games in eight weeks is not a easy schedule. We really have to be skilled and fundamentally sound and able to defend half court. We won’t be able to press full court much this year having to play games every night.”

The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) allowed JUCO basketball programs to host in-state scrimmages, closed to the public, during the fall and will then allow one out-of-state scrimmage in January.

Williams said that ESCC went 6-2 in eight scrimmages during the fall having played LBW, Chattahoochee Valley and Gadsden State twice each during that span. The Boll Weevils will play Chipola (Fla.) College in January and also scrimmage Southern Union before the season begins.

This year’s Boll Weevils will primarily feature incoming freshmen and transfer sophomores, as Enterprise High grad Ja’Juan Hayes is one of the few returning players from last year’s team.

“Scrimmages have been going really well,” Williams said. “We’ve improved in certain areas in each scrimmage. We’re taking it step by step because this is a whole new team here. We have a few sophomores but a lot of freshmen.

“A majority of the scrimmages have been freshmen players playing and mixing in the sophomores. We’re getting better and better each time.”

Williams pointed to Rehobeth’s Jordan West and Eufaula’s Trez Blackshire as incoming freshmen that will make an impact this season.

“Jordan West is a catch-and-shot type of player and he has really been lighting it up for us,” Williams said. “Trez Blackshire has really adjusted to the game really well and has been a big surprise.”

Williams pointed to Hayes as one of the sophomores returning that he expects big things from.

“Ja’Juan has stepped up for us and really shot it well,” Williams said. “He scored double digits in the first half of our last scrimmage. He’s stepping it up and just keeps getting better.”

Along with continuing to try and stay in shape, Williams said that his team has to concentrate on getting better at rebounding before the season starts.

“Rebounding and limiting teams to one shot is something we really have to work on,” Williams said. “We’re struggling rebounding right now because everyone wants to get out and run and play fast, but we have to understand that we have to get the rebound first.

“Defensively, we are very very sound. We’re doing a good job of adjusting and playing hard on defense. We work at least an hour and a half each day on defense. Offense will come to us but we have to make sure our defense is solid.”

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