PERKINSTON — Mississippi Gulf Coast men's basketball coach Wendell Weathers is a longtime chemistry instructor at the college, and he's tinkering with the 2018-19 Bulldogs' equation at one end of the court.
"We've been real pleased with our defense and the way our kids are playing hard and working hard," he said. "Offensively, we still have a ways to go. We're still making too many young, rookie mistakes on the offensive end. If and when we can fix that, we'll start to be pretty good, I think."
Weathers, entering his 17th season as head coach, will be relying in particular on three returning starters to lead the way when the season opens Friday against the William Carey junior varsity. Tipoff at the newly renovated Weathers-Wentzell Center is a 7:30 p.m. The game will be streamed at https://livestream.com/MGCCCBulldogs/events/8438171.
Point guard LaRaymond Spivery (So., Lucedale /George County) was the second-leading scorer on the team last year, averaging 14.3 points. He also led the team with 5.0 assists and 2.5 steals.
Keevon Oney (So., Gulfport/Gulfport) used his length on the wing to average 9.2 points, earning his way into the starting lineup the last 13 games of the season. DaJuan Moorer (So., Pensacola, Fla./Pensacola Catholic) played his first year of basketball after a stint playing football and wound up averaging 8.7 points and 6.6 rebounds.
They'll have a talented crop of freshmen to bring along. Guard Mykah Brown (Fr., Petal/Petal) arrives at Perk having averaged 12.2 points while shooting 41 percent from the 3-point line as a senior.
"Mykah Brown's doing a really good job," Weathers said. "We expected that with him coming in. They're all doing OK. We need somebody to step up and do really good."
Phoenix Ford (Fr., St. Petersburg, Fla./St. Petersburg), a transfer power forward from NCAA Division I Richmond, has started asserting himself.
The Bulldogs will also get a boost from slashing guard Jaylen Peters (So., Delisle/Pass Christian). He was injured early last season and got a medical redshirt. As a freshman, Peters played in 24 games and averaged 4.2 points.
"We think at the end of the day, and that day may not be until February, we will have some depth," Weathers said. "We've played 10, 11 guys in scrimmages. I don't know how long we can continue to do that unless some of them really step it up. I would say we'll be able to go eight, nine, 10 deep."
Gulf Coast opens MACJC South play Dec. 3 when East Central visits Perkinston. It's the lone division game before the Christmas break.
Weathers will keep tweaking the chemistry until then.
"We're not there yet, but we've got some pieces if we can get them all to fit in the right place," he said.
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