By Chris Parker
Fair Play boys basketball has a new head coach in Darin Archer this season. Archer is a 27-year coaching veteran who has made stops at Weaubleau, Macks Creek, Bolivar along with a stint as the head coach of the SBU Men’s Basketball program.
The tradition of Fair Play basketball brought him to the Hornets.
“Fair Play has a good tradition and I knew that they have been well coached in the past, so this was an opportunity for me to get back into the game and continue to build upon the tradition that has been established in the Fair Play basketball program,” Archer said.
He inherits a team that went 16-12 last year and won a district title. Fair Play has finished above .500 in five consecutive seasons.
Senior Adrian Hartshorn returns as one of the top players in the Polk County League. He was one of just three non-seniors to earn that distinction last year. Hartshorn averaged 17.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.4 steals per game as a junior.
“Adrian is a special talent. He has a great understanding of the game and he has the ability to put up big numbers any given night,” Archer said. “He has worked very hard in the off-season on all aspects of his game. He will be the first to tell you that he is surrounded by a very good supporting cast, and our overall success this season will depend on us developing into a well-rounded team on both ends of the court.”
Other players that have impressed Archer include:
Adam Bass (6-2, SR C) – “Undersized post player. Work horse on both ends of the floor. He has the ability to play with his back to the basket or face up. Good defender and rebounder. He is not afraid of hard work and will do the little things to make his team better.”
Mason Hopkins (5-10, SR G) – “Hard worker on both ends of the floor. Good athlete that can run the floor well and play solid defense. He is a spark plug on both ends of the floor and plays hard every play.”
Kolin Thomas (6-0, SR G) – “Tremendous athlete that can be a force on both ends of the floor. Has the ability to play several positions and can be a lock down defender. Has the ability to put up good offensive numbers on any given night.”
Dustin Sterling (6-2, SR F) – “Tremendous worker and great defender & rebounder. He is a versatile player and very smart on both ends of the floor.”
Cory Cantrell (6-0, SR F) – “Nice addition to our program. Can play multiple positions and is a hard worker on both ends of the floor.”
Gavin Tennyson (6-5, JR C ) – “Post player. Has worked hard during the off season to improve his play on both ends of the floor. He has a tremendous upside and will add interior depth on both ends of the floor.”
Thomas led that group in scoring at 9.1 ppg to go with 3.4 rpg, 3.6 apg and 1.8 spg. Bass contributed 6 ppg and 5.8 rpg.
Newcomers to watch include: James Cantrell (5-10, JR G), Jacob Grove (6-0, JR F) , Rowdy Garzee (5-6 FR, G), Andrew Hartshorn (6-1 FR, F/C), Andrew Mettler (6-2 FR, F), Dakota Roy (6-2 FR, C), Brett Scarbrough (5-6 FR, G), Blake Thomas (5-7 FR, G) and Caleb Christian (5-9 FR, F).
“I am excited about the upcoming season,” Archer said. “We have a great group of young men that is not afraid of hard work and they are committed to getting better every day. Being new to the program, there will be a learning curve for both me and the players, but I really like the way this group is willing to work hard and learn. We have a good mix of experienced seniors that have experienced success and underclassmen that will add to our depth at each position.”
Fair Play opens the season Nov. 30 through Dec. 5 at the Humansville Tournament.
“We play a very competitive schedule and the Polk County League will be very competitive from top to bottom,” Archer said. “We will need to bring our ‘A’ game each night we step on the court, but our competitive schedule should prepare us for districts. Our seniors have a lot of talent and a load of experience. They will need to translate their experiences to their teammates and lead by example. That will be a huge factor in our success this season.”