This story originally appeared in the Holiday issue of ESPNHS magazine’s Missouri edition. McCluer North has started the season at 2-1.
They’ve been here before. You know, as Goliath, with every team lined up in hopes of playing David and knocking off the defending state champions. For McCluer North, the year was 2008. The team’s drive for a repeat advanced all the way to the championship round but fell just short. So with the Stars again entering this season with a freshly minted Class 5 championship trophy and a line of Davids already forming, coach Randy Reed says this time his unit will do things a little differently.
“We’re not going to live off our past; instead, we’re going to challenge our guys even more,” he says. “We’re going to act like we haven’t won anything and that there’s nothing to take from us. That way, we’ll have 10 desperate guys trying to make a name and statement all season long.”
Of course, Reed understands it’s hard to fully live in that hypothetical world, especially with nine players returning this season. Senior forward Jordon Granger, who averaged 14.8 points and 8.8 rebounds, will be joined by returning seniors Galen Brown and Tremayne Garrett.
All three are capable playmakers, and Reed expects even more production from Garrett this season after the guard adjusted his game last year to let standout player and current Arkansas freshman B.J. Young shine. Elevated play will certainly be needed, as the Stars compete in the tough Suburban North Conference against the likes of McCluer and Hazelwood Central.
“Losing B.J. was big, and we’ll probably be more of a halfcourt-offense team because of it, but I’m excited about this year,” Granger says. “If we work hard with the great pieces we have, we’ll be fine.”
Just as long as they remember to keep their eyes on what they want and not on what they already have.
Brandon Parker covers Missouri for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.