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Barton opens hoops season Friday; picked 7th in Jayhawk West
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Coaching basketball at a community college means a lot of new faces nearly every year. Barton Community College men’s coach Craig Fletchall knows this. He had been at it for 13 years – eight at Barton where he is the all-time leader in coaching wins.
But this season even the grizzled veteran is looking at more new faces than he ever has. The Cougars return exactly two players from last year that combined to average 2.9 points and 1.8 rebounds a contest.
“That is the least I have ever returned ever at any level,” Coach Fletchall said. “But we also have three transfers. That gives us five sophomores so maybe we are not as young as we appear.”
The Cougars will open the 2014-15 campaign tomorrow night when they play host to Fort Scott Community College in the Best Western/Pizza Hut Classic at the Barton Gym. The Cougars will play Pure Prep Academy Saturday to close out the opening weekend.
Heading into opening weekend, the Jayhawk Conference released the coaches’ poll this week where the Cougars were slated to finish seventh. Hutchinson was picked to win the conference followed by defending West champion Seward County. Pratt, the Region VI tournament winner last season, was tabbed third.
“How you play in your scrimmages and who you have back is where you are picked,” Coach Fletchall said. “We didn’t play well in Dallas and half the conference was there. Seward and Hutch are really good. It is up in the air after that. Dodge returns a lot of players and Pratt won region. So you can kind of see why teams were picked where they were.”
“But based on our recent success, though, we kind of took that it as a jab. But it is what it is, we have a whole new group.”
Headlining that new group is a trio of transfer guards – Ahmad Walker, Jalin Barnes and Kenny Enoch.
Walker comes to Barton from Stony Brook College – and NCAA Division I school in New York. There Walker started 31 games, averaging 7 points and 5.3 rebounds on his way to being named to the American East Conference All-Rookie team. The 6-4 combo guard was the Class B Player of the Year in his region both his junior and senior seasons at Berkshire High School where he left as the school’s all-time leading scorer.
Barnes, a 6-1 guard, transferred from Howard Junior College in Texas. He was the team’s second leading scorer last season for the Rangers at 8.3 points per game. He also averaged 2.6 assists per contest. He played his high school basketball in Raleigh, NC under the guidance of former Barton standout Randy Pulley at Christian Faith Academy.
The third transfer Barton will rely heavily on is Kenny Enoch. Enoch, a 6-0 guard, comes to Barton from another Texas junior college via Trinity Valley. Enoch was a standout at TC Howe High School in Indianapolis where he was the No. 10 ranked small forward in the state his senior season.
“That is our backcourt,” Coach Fletchall said. “We have six freshman post players we are still trying to figure out who to keep, who to play, and who to redshirt.
“Our guards are just further along than our posts. They are stronger, faster, and just more ready. The posts are not physical enough yet and we are trying to project who is going to play best with these guards.”
2014-15 Jayhawk West Coaches Poll
1. Hutchinson
2. Seward
3. Pratt
4. Dodge City
5. Butler
6. Garden City
7. Barton
8. Cloud County
9. Colby