Under Construction: Bainbridge High basketball team looks to rebuild during offseason

Published 11:07 am Wednesday, June 14, 2023

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The Bainbridge Varsity basketball team is finding its identity in the wake of losing a majority of its starters from last season. 

The Bearcats traveled to Tallahassee this weekend to compete in the FSU Team Camp tournament. The Bearcats finished 8-5 over three days of competition. They were knocked out in the second round of the final bracket. Head Coach Kelvin Cochran said he was pleased with how his young team played.

“There’s a lot of guys that are stepping in,” Cochran said. “They’re having their moments.”

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One of those guys is freshman Corbin Bryant. Cochran said he watched Bryant adapt to varsity-level basketball and the new system he’s implementing as head coach. 

“[Bryant] got baptized real good this weekend,” Cochran said. “But I saw growth in him. Every time he stepped on the court, he’s getting more comfortable.”

Cochran gave props to returning starter, senior AJ Grant. Grant is the only starter returning from last year’s team — one that lost five seniors. He said it feels different being one of the older guys on the team.

“I’ve always been the young guy,” Grant said. “Now that I’m the oldest, I have to step up and take a bigger role.”

Cochran said that Grant has to embrace the leadership position that comes with his experience. Grant said he had to change how he conducts himself with the team to be a better leader. He said he tries to lead by example and encourage the young guys to find their confidence.

“I always have to preach like ‘you’re not perfect, no one’s perfect, even I’m going to mess up and I’ve been here,’” Grant said, addressing his teammates. “No matter if you mess up, keep fighting.’”

The Bearcats will be using the summer to learn the new system and build chemistry, according to Cochran. He said he hopes to see growth by the time the season starts.

“I want to see the new guys in their new roles,” Cochran said. “I want to see them get consistent.