BY ANDREAS BUTLER
The boys basketball team at Mainland High School is off to an 11-6 start this season with a young but talented squad.
“As a coach you expect more, but we are in pretty good standing. We now have our guys back from football, so we have our entire team. We got them back earlier than expected this year. We should progress faster,” said Landis McCoy, Mainland head basketball coach.
This past week alone, Mainland beat rivals Seabreeze 68-30 and Spruce Creek 54-36 but was upset by Deltona 44-41.
The Buccaneers are far removed from their state championship (1995, 1998, 1999) days, but they always boast talent.
“A lot has to happen to get back there. It takes the right mindset from the kids. We believe that we have the talent. We must play together and be a complete team. You need a true point guard, dominant scorer and guys that do the dirty work like defend, take charges and etc. You also need players that make the others around them better,” expressed McCoy.
The Bucs have looked very good at times with an athletic squad.
“Our pressure defense has really worked and we are a very fast team out in transition.
We have a lot of athleticism. On the flip side, we are young with three sophomores and five juniors,” said McCoy.
The Mainland team has a player that many coaches, scouts and reporters believe is the best in the county – senior guard Cameron “Squirt’’Hadley.
“He is a tremendous player. He is the coach on the court. He is the best player in the area hands down. He does it all,” commented McCoy.
They also have a star and versatile player in junior forward Craig Wilmore.
“He plays inside and outside. He is the elite scorer on the team and has a huge upside.
He is getting a lot of attention from recruiters,” mentioned McCoy.
Mainland also has sophomore forward Marcus Bronson, senior Brandon Thompson, sophomore Dexter Gooden, Jamal Hughes, Jarrod Hudson and sophomore Tray Robinson.
“Marcus is a great rebounder, Brandon is a big help who transferred from Spruce Creek, Dexter and Tray are good three-point shooters with Dexter leading us in that category.
Jamal and Jarrod both give us a spark off the bench,” added McCoy.
The Buccaneers hope to be in a position to make a run at a district championship and state title.
“We have to bond like any other team. We have to find our identity. We have an understanding of what is expected from each other as a team. We expect things to start rolling over the next couple of weeks,” stated McCoy.
Mainland hosted Deltona Pine Ridge on Tuesday night, which was after the Daytona Times’ deadline.
Prep Sports Seven basketball rankings
Atlantic (9-6), 3. DeLand (18-2), 4. Flagler Palm Coast (17-4), 5. Trinity (15-5), 6. Seabreeze (9-7), 7. Warner (6-7).
Boys: 1. Father Lopez (16-2), 2. DeLand (12-4), 3. New Smyrna (16-3), 4. Mainland (11-6), 5. FPC (10-8), 6. Calvary (12-5) tie 7. Spruce Creek (7-7), Halifax (9-5). Others: Atlantic (8-8).
Note: The rankings are as of Jan. 14 at noon.