MAN — After last year’s dismal 7-17 season and the Man High School boys’ basketball team has nowhere to go but up.
It appears as if the Hillbillies are on the up and up this season with returning and new talent on the 2013-14 version of the Man basketball team.
The Billies are still young and will most likely start three freshmen under head coach Harvey Arms. Man only has one senior on the team in Cayce Mullins.
Man, however, returns last year’s top two scorers in sophomore John Thomas Keffer, also the quarterback of Coach Arms’ playoff-bound Man football team, and Jake Adkins another sophomore.
Both have a year under their belts along with Kenny Joe Adkins, another sophomore, who started last year as a freshman.
Man lost just one senior from last year’s team in Clay Brumfield. Mikle Scott Rowe and Robert Caudill — two Man football players who also played basketball last season — did not return to the hardwood this season.
The Billies don’t open the new season until Dec. 17 with a home game against Mount View but Man coach Harvey Arms said he’s excited about his team’s progression.
“It’s still early and we have made some progress with a lot of players back,” Arms said. “We are supposedly ahead of the game but with Cayce being our only senior we are still a young team. We will probably start one freshman, three sophomores and a senior.”
Man will count on Keffer, a 6-0 point guard.
“John Thomas shoots the ball well and runs the floor very well,” Arms said.
Jake Adkins, a 6-3 forward, was second on the team in scoring last season behind Keffer.
“He’s a good shooter and rebounds the ball well,” Arms said. “Him and Cayce and freshman Daniel Buchannon will have to be our rebounders along with Gage Harvey.”
Kenny Joe Adkins, a 6-0 guard, is also a returning starter for Man from a year ago and brings quickness to the table along with defense and jumping ability, Arms said.
The lone senior is Cayce Mullins, a leader on the football field for the Billies. Arms said he is looking for Mullins to carry over that leadership on the hardwood if Man is to have any success.
“He is a battler and plays hard,” Arms said of Mullins.
The Billies have size in the middle with 6-5 frosh Daniel Buchannon, a player who can also step out and hit the 3-point shot pretty well for a big man.
“He gives us the most size that we’ve had at Man in a long time,” Arms said. “He played well in our first scrimmage game and hit two 3-pointers as well. He is still young but he’s getting better.”
Man will also look to junior Gage Harvey, a 6-4 forward, who will also be highly counted on by Arms.
“He is a force in the middle and rebounds well,” Arms said.
Sophomore Erik Files (6-0) gives Man some added depth.
“He played a lot last year and will come off the bench and give the starters a breather. He’s quick and runs the floor well,” Arms said of Files.
Another incoming freshman who has looked good at practice is Cameron Simpson (5-8), the younger brother of Man’s all-time leading scorer Jordan Simpson.
“Cameron handles the ball well and shoots well,” Arms said.
Sophomore Josh Adkins (6-2) gives Man some added size in the lane.
“He played well last year and will give us some more size in the paint,” Arms said.
Rounding out the varsity roster are Alex Lusk (5-11) and Tyler Dunnigan (5-10).
“Both played a lot of JV ball last year and have to move up to the varsity roster,” Arms said.
Man’s JV players are: Lucas Adkins, Brandon Cook, John McCoy, Austin Elkins, Nick Collins, Amiri Bartley and Blake Morgan.
Man is always challenged with a tough schedule and this year is no different.
Highlighting the slate is a home-and-home series with Class AA county rival Chapmanville. The Billies also play in Chapmanville’s holiday tournament over Christmas break and could play the Tigers a third time.
New to the Hillbillies’ schedule are a pair of Kentucky teams — Belfry and Phelps. Man is slated to play the Pirates and the Hornets in home-and-home series. Man last played Phelps two seasons ago.
Belfry, a Kentucky Class AAA school, was 14-10 last season while Phelps went 7-22.
Belfry played six games against West Virginia teams last year and were an even 3-3. The Pirates split with Mingo Central, losing 75-54 and winning 79-76 over the Miners.
The Pirates also split with eventual Class A state champion Tug Valley, winning 80-76 and losing 80-52 to the Panthers. Belfry also won 74-69 over Tolsia and lost 93-65 to Class AAA Hurricane, an eventual regional champion winner over Logan.
Also highlighting Man’s schedule is a home-and-home series against Class A sectional rival Tug Valley.
The Panthers, which have won two straight state championships — a Class AA crown two years ago and a Single-A state title last year — knocked off Man 94-36 in last year’s sectional tourney. Tug Valley also beat Man 86-49 and 82-49 during the regular season.
One other highlight to the Billies’ schedule is an appearance on Jan. 18 in the Hatfield-McCoy Shootout at the historic Williamson Fieldhouse.
Dropped from Man’s schedule are 2A Westside and Single-A Fayetteville.
After opening the season against Mount View, a Class AA team, Man goes to Montcalm on Dec. 20 before playing in Chapmanville’s Bob Runyon Memorial Holiday Tournament Dec. 27-28.
Man High School Hillbillies
2013-14 Boys’ Basketball Schedule:
Dec. 17: Mount View, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 20: at Montcalm, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 27-28: at Bob Runyon Memorial Holiday Tournament at Chapmanville, TBA.
Jan. 3: Greater Beckley Christian, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 7: at Sherman, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 9: at River View, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 14: at Chapmanville, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 17: Montcalm, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 18: at Hatfield-McCoy Shootout at Williamson, TBA.
Jan. 22: at Tug Valley, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 24: Huntington St. Joe, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 25: at Belfry, Ky., 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 31: Phelps, Ky., 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 4: River View, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 5: at Phelps, Ky., 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 7: at Greater Beckley Christian, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 11: Tug Valley, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 14: at Mount View, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 18: Belfry, Ky., 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 21: at Huntington St. Joe, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 25: Chapmanville, 7:30 p.m.
Man High School
Boys’ Basketball Roster
NO. NAME HT
10 John Thomas Keffer 6-0
22 Gabby Brown 5-11
12 Kenny Joe Adkins 6-0
30 Jake Adkins 6-3
32 Cayce Mullins 6-2
42 Gage Harvey 6-4
14 Erik Files 6-0
20 Tyler Dunnigan 5-10
44 Daniel Buchannon 6-5
24 Cameron Simpson 5-8
34 Alex Lusk 5-11
40 Josh Adkins 6-2
HEAD COACH: Harvey Arms