Bearcat players step into new roles at Valdosta State tournament

Published 8:29 am Tuesday, June 27, 2023

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The Bearcat basketball team won five of seven games and finished runners-up in a tournament this weekend.

The VSU Basketball Team Camp ran from Friday to Saturday. The Bearcats went 2-1 the first day and 3-1 the second day. Head Coach Kelvin Cochran said the tournament was another piece in the team’s effort to acclimate to a new player group.

“They did a great job, stepping up and playing in a different role,” Cochran said. “They didn’t complain about anything. They just went out there and played ball. People get caught up in ‘I don’t play that, I play this.’ If you a ball player, you a ball player, I don’t care where you play at.”

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The team graduated four players from last season that were an essential part of the team’s foundation. Cochran is spending the summer figuring out how to construct the team with the players he has. 

“It’s still a work in progress,” Cochran said. “When those guys graduated, new guys gotta step in.” 

Some “new guys” stepped in this weekend. Cochran said he was pleased with junior Camryn Scott and rising senior Denzel Chappell’s play in the tournament. The team was missing its big men this weekend, and those two filled that role. Cochran said they played well in an unfamiliar position.

“It’s a lot of responsibility on handling the ball. You’ve got to guard, pick up people, and then still got to be able to produce on the offensive end also. I thought he did a great job.” Cochran said about Scott. “[Chappell] did a great job of stepping up, being in a different role.”

Cochran gave props to rising senior Gabriel Smart for his defensive play and mentioned rising senior Cam Sanders as another guy that caught his attention over the tournament.

“We had a multitude of guys who contributed,” Cochran said. “It just wasn’t one guy.”