Raiders stuck on repeating
Tue. February 28, 2012 at 10:28 p.m. | By Andrew Carroll
As pleased with its regional trophy as Greensboro is, the defending champion Raiders are after bigger hardware. (Photo by Julie Bennett)
The cast of characters has changed a bit from last season, but the Greensboro Raiders are back in Birmingham to defend their Class 3A championship.
Craig Williams earned a ring last season as an assistant coach. He took over as head coach after the departure of Earlando Courtney.
"It means a lot to be back," Williams said. "Part of that team from last year is still here, but we lost some very important guys."
Jimmie Taylor, a 6-foot-9 junior, was the tournament’s most valuable player when the Raiders won the 2011 title. Junior guard Donald King is another player with experience.
Williams said King was willing to sacrifice his scoring to play point guard.
"We started this season without a true point guard," Williams said. "Fortunately, Donald King took on that role. We want him in the middle of the floor, distributing the ball. When we put in our other point guard, we need Donald to attack from the wing.
"After finding a point guard, my biggest issue was to get the rest of these guys where they could play."
Taylor, a forward, is a force on defense with his rebounding and shot-blocking ability.
"He’s a lot stronger than he was last year," Williams said. "At the beginning of the season he carried the team as a primary scorer.
"If they double down on Jimmie, our guards can knock the shots down. If they pick up on the guards, we have more than one person who can score inside. You have to play a complete defensive game to stop us. Everyone I have on the floor at any given time can hurt you."
Junior Kavoris Owens is a 6-3 forward, and senior guard Karron Tabb emerged as a scorer, earning the MVP award in the Central Regional. Williams said Tabb was involved in the program earlier in his career but didn’t play last season because of grades.
Willie Parker and Takendrick Britford are senior guards. Britford is listed at 5-6, but Williams said he plays with no fear.
"He’s the toughest person I have on the team," Williams said. "It’s nothing for to go in at practice and challenge Jimmie."