Lima Senior head coach Quincey Simpson knows he has talent on this year’s team.
Unfortunately for the Spartan head coach the pandemic has prevented him from seeing much of them and will have to wait until he sees them in a game.
As of Tuesday, Simpson said the team had two take a break for two weeks due to contact tracing and covid concerns. And as of Tuesday, the Spartans first two games were canceled due to covid concerns from the other teams.
As of Tuesday, Simpson was on a phone call trying to come up with a Three Rivers Athletic Conference schedule in January and February and looking to get enough games to not only prepare his team for the tournament but showcase some of his senior talent.
“I like what we have and on paper we have some good pieces,” Simpson said. “Obviously we are not as talented from a depth perspective as we were last year but from a team perspective I like the guys that we have.”
Described as a pit bull on defense and the highest basketball IQ on the team, senior Jourdyn Rawlins, an honorable mention all-TRAC performer, is one of the team leaders on the squad.
“He’s probably never going to lead us in scoring but he is going to be able to do some many other things that you don’t see on a state sheet,” Simpson said.
With Josiah Fulcher and Jamir Simpson lost to graduation, Simpson said guys are going to have to step up this year and he is counting on a talented junior class that will need to get in some varsity minutes. Despite the pandemic, Simpson added that many of these individuals got better over the summer and the spring and they put a lot of work in the fall.
“I’m expecting Camren Miles and Khalil Luster to have break out seasons,” Simpson said. “We also have some other guys like Jareon Mayo that have been putting in a lot of work. Jainaz Cameron is back and he is a senior. We are looking to have some big minutes from Travis Bullock and Mikel Walker.
“We have some pretty talented pieces. We don’t have the firepower like Josiah Fulcher and Jamir Simpson but we do have a lot of guys who can do a lot of different things.”
Cameron was at Lima Senior as freshman but played the last two seasons in London, Ohio and has returned for his senior season. Last year, he averaged 8.5 points a game and 6.4 rebounds a contest.
Sophomores looking for playing time will be Shalom Stout and Anthony Mosley.
“It will be interesting to see how we score and where our points come from,” Simpson said. “”We don’t have a lot of size but we do have a lot of speed.”
As the practices began and the season was set to commence, Simpson believed he was close to having a starting five but because he has never had his entire squad at practice he continues to evaluate and see what is going to work best for the team.
“We were just getting our entire team back and then we were shut down for two weeks,” Simpson said. “Tomorrow (Wednesday) is everybody will be back but the downside to that is we have to re-program our minds, re-condition our bodies and that is going to be a struggle because a lot of these guys have been working on their bodies and their conditioning since September and then to have two weeks off it’s a lot to bounce back from.”
Simpson added that as coaches they have to be careful not to overdo it right away and he thinks the team will be fine once they get into the scheme of doing it continuously every day.
Practice is one thing, playing games is whole set up of different problems for Simpson. With a number of schools postponing or canceling contest, the Lima Senior head coach is looking to find opponents and said while other teams have already begun his team is on standby.
Simpson adds that other schools in the area are already on their third game this weekend.
“We don’t want to worry about what other teams are doing but for me objectively I want to play games because I have two or three seniors who can play at the collegiate level somewhere,” Simpson said. “Whether that is Division II, NAIA, junior college and Jainez may have the opportunity to play Division I ball so not playing doesn’t help us. Not playing is not good for us because these guys have the opportunity to have their education paid for and put them in a position to change the dynamics of their entire life so we want to play for those reasons,” Simpson said. “We are going to win some games. We are going to lose some games but for me here at Lima Senior it is having these kids getting the opportunity to go on outside of Lima Senior and continue their education.”
Getting games in is also imperative for the Spartans if they are going to make another successful postseason run. Last season Lima Senior was on the verge of possibly making it to state.
“I don’t think anyone has bounced back from what happened to us along with the other six teams that were still in the tournament,” Simpson said. “Making it that far is not a given. All the dots have to connect and all the pieces have to fit and I thought last year was going to be our year to win state. I thought we had all the pieces to do it.
“But I like the team that we have. I like the future of the program but that was pretty special last year and we didn’t get an opportunity to finish it. We have a really good team on paper if these guys can buy in and if we don’t have any egos and they buy in and up until a few weeks ago everyone was on the same page. It is going to take us several games to understand the speed of the varsity level. How the game is played at the varsity level because I have a lot of guys that played jv minutes last year. We are just hopeful we get an opportunity to play.”