The Enterprise Wildcats bring an experienced team of coaches and players alike to the 2020 season and hope to transform the team with a new style of play on the basketball court.
Enterprise returns seniors Justin Winters, Josh McCray, Jalen Cunningham, and Jared Smith, along with sophomores Jordan Hines and Mykel Johnson and junior Quentin Hayes from last season’s team.
Hayes and McCray are Enterprise’s leading returning scorers. Hayes averaged 11 points, six rebounds and two assists as a sophomore. McCray averaged 11 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals as a junior.
Enterprise coach Rhett Harrelson hopes that returning experience can transfer into leadership amongst the group, as well.
“I think it will be really good but they have to do it,” Harrelson said of his returners leading the team. “We have a bunch of guys coming back that played a bunch of minutes for us with a bunch of experience.
“So, they’ve been there and done that, which is really good, but now we need for them to lead. They need to show the guys coming up on varsity the ropes and how we do things.”
While Enterprise loses two-time all-state forward Dallas Howell, who is now playing in college, they’ve added a big-time transfer in former Carroll High School standout Elijah Terry.
The 6-foot-5-inch forward averaged 16 points, nine rebounds and four assists as a sophomore at Carroll last season. He’s also the cousin of NBA and international basketball player Emmanuel Terry, who grew up in Enterprise before moving to Birmingham.
“He’s a guy that brings us some length and he brings us another presence down low,” Harrelson said. “He’s really crafty around the rim and is able to finish through contact and finish through traffic at the rim.
“He’s also a really good passer and good with the ball and is a really good teammate. It took no time for him to be able to get in with the guys and really form relationships with all of them. He’s definitely already a team favorite.”
Terry’s athleticism will also benefit the Wildcats as they look to implement a new, faster-paced style of play that Harrelson has been working with his team on since the summer.
“We’re trying to have a lot more possessions. We want to create more possessions with our defense, press a lot more, we want to get a lot more shot attempts and we want to play faster,” Harrelson said. “We want to try and speed the other team up but to do that we have to be in shape and be in really good condition. We aren’t there yet but we will be.”
Harrelson has also reached to the coaching ranks to bring in two experienced coaches onto his staff. Former Opelika head coach John Wadsworth and former Red Level head coach Allen Catrett have joined EHS as assistant coaches along with returning assistants Spud Cooper and Clark Quisenberry. Both spent more than 12 years as head coaches at their respective schools.
“They bring a ton of experience,” Harrelson said of his new assistants. “Those guys have been coaches for 14-15 years and I’ve already learned a lot from them from the summer to now in terms of different situations.
“They’ve been a really good tool for me to sort of pick their brains and continue to learn as a coach, whether it be what they think about discipline or practice schedules or travel or anything else.”
While EHS returns a ton of experience on its team, they only had a handful of practices as a full team together heading into the season. Much of the varsity roster is made up of football players, who were playing in the playoffs until Nov. 6.
“We’ve had good and bad days. We’re trying to have good days all the time but we aren’t there yet,” Harrelson said of the team’s practices. “We’ve had six practices with the entire team together. We have to be more consistent and have good days all the time.
“Being more consistent and getting our conditioning where it needs to be is big for us. Those things kind of go hand in hand for me. If we are more consistent with our effort and the way we want to play it will help our conditioning because that means we’re playing as hard as we can in practice. Every time we stand between these lines we have to be more consistent. We want to get to where we’re running and gunning and pressing and playing full court defense but we aren’t there yet.”