Monday was a big day for David Early and the Logan High School basketball program.
Early was declared eligible to play by the WVSSAC for his senior season.
Early, a 6-foot-4 all-state guard for the Wildcats, had initially transferred to Beckley Prep back in the fall and played roughly 10 games for the Swarm but decided to come back home.
Logan Athletics Director Dan Hensley confirmed the reports when asked if Early was indeed ruled eligible.
“Yes he was,” Hensley said via text.
Early was a Class AA First-Team All-State selection last year and led the Cardinal Conference in scoring. He scored more than 30 points in eight games last season and averaged 26.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.5 steals per game.
The Wildcats’ are obviously glad to have him back.
“He was a First-Team All-State guy,” Logan coach Zach Green said in an earlier interview. “He scored 27 points a game last year. He’s a Logan kid, so having a kid like that back in your program and the things that he can do for you on the floor would be really good for us going forward.”
Early led Logan to a 20-5 season and a 12-2 mark in the Cardinal Conference last year but the Wildcats were upset 61-55 at Poca in one of the two Class AA Region 4 co-championship games. The loss left Logan out of the state tournament and that’s something that has eluded the tradition-rich Cats for the last seven years.
His initial move to Beckley Prep was a big blow to the Wildcats.
Logan had already lost three starters from last year’s team.
Peter Noe, a 6-foot-10 center, and 6-1 forward Chucky Felder both graduated.
Brothers Drew Hatfield (5-11 senior) and Devin Hatfield (6-0 sophomore) who had transferred to Logan after the 2018 football season from Mingo Central, went back home to MCHS.
Both played big roles in the Wildcats’ success last season. Drew Hatfield (14.5 points, 10.5 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 3.6 steals) was a starter and one of Logan’s top scorers.
Devin Hatfield, a reserve, saw his role continuing to grow as the season progressed.
Logan does return guards Mitchell Hainer and Noah Cook, but will field a young squad for the upcoming season with an influx of freshmen and sophomore players expected to help take up the slack.
The Wildcats, however, reportedly lost 6-3 guard/forward Parker Davis on Monday as the freshman transferred to Martin County High School in Inez, Kentucky.
Many had expected Davis to play some this year for the Wildcats in their youth movement.
Logan advanced last season to the Class AA Region 4 Section 2 championship game after beating Scott 71-61 but then lost 68-55 to eventual state champion Chapmanville Regional in the sectional finals at Mingo Central High School.
The defeat to the Poca Dots then ended Logan’s season.
With Early returning for his last season of high school ball, many hope he can lead the Wildcats back to the state tournament.
Early has several Division I offers but has yet to make his decision.
NO HEAD TOPPERS: Logan’s team this year will lack size.
The Wildcats’ tallest player is 6-foot-5 Mitchell Hainer. David Early (6-4) and 6-2 Cameron Hensley are the other two tallest players.
“Hainer and Hensley are our biggest players other than David. That’s it,” Green said. “We’re going to be drastically different this year than we were last year. We sort of grinded people out last year. This year, we are really going to spread it out and space the floor and try to get people to come out and guard us. We have a bunch of guys that can put the ball in the basket.”
Last year, Logan had 6-10 Peter Noe but he was lost due to graduation.
With a guard oriented team, look for Logan to increase the tempo and run up and down the floor more.
“We don’t have a traditional big guy, which probably fits my style of coaching better, having a team full of guards who can space the floor,” Green said. “These guys are smart and are patient. It’s going to be different but I think throughout the season we can win games without having that big post player. We’re going to be a lot different but not in a bad way. With the guys that we have we think that we can be as good as we were last year offensively. We just have got a lot of work to do defensively.”
ROAD WARRIORS: Logan is scheduled to return to action with Thursday’s 6 p.m. home game against Lincoln County in the Wildcats’ final preseason contest.
It’s the last chance for Logan basketball fans to see the Cats in action at home until Jan. 14 as LHS is scheduled to play its first 10 games on the road or at neutral sites.
Logan is slated to tip off the regular season on Dec. 10 at Herbert Hoover then travel to Scott on Dec. 17.
Then it’s off to the Volunteer State as the Wildcats are set to play in the Smoky Mountain Shootout in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Dec. 19-21.
Logan plays at Beckley in the Battle of the Armory Dec. 27-28 then heads to Mingo Central on Jan. 3. The Cats play at county rival Man on Jan. 4 and goes to Wayne on Jan. 7 before hosting Chapmanville in the home opener on Jan. 14.