Blue Devils getting set for 2019-2020 hoops season
West Memphis basketball ready for action
WM School District In his two-plus years as the Blue Devil boys head basketball coach, Marcus Brown has established his own cliche’ when queried about the state of the program.
When asked about how he feels about the prospects for the 2019-2020 Blue Devils he again responded by saying, “It’s a great day to be a Blue Devil.”
And he’s right.
In his first two years at the West Memphis helm, Brown has rung up a record of 53-10 for a gaudy .841 winning percentage.
But the questions abound for his club as it prepares for the opening of the season. Nearly every question centers around 6-foot-7 forward Chris Moore.
As a three-year starter, Moore has established himself as one of the alltime greats in Blue Devil lore. But will the senior star have enough talent surrounding himself this season?
“I know we have some good pieces around (Moore),” said Brown.
“We have some kids who are versatile. I think the key component to our year is going to be our shooting. Our kids just have to remember we’re one team, one unit, one family.
They’ve put in the work, so now it just has to pay off.”
After a season in which they went 25-6, the Blue Devils hope to be as competitive as they have been the last two seasons in which they advanced to the championship game of the state tournament in 2018 and to the semifinals in 2019.
Moore will no doubt lead the way.
In fact, he may be downright unstoppable.
Moore averaged teamhigh totals of 18 points and 16 rebounds last season and is being courted by several Division 1 colleges. He has, at press time, narrowed his list of suitors to Memphis, Arkansas and Auburn, not necessarily in that order.
As steeped in Blue Devil history as anyone in town, Brown says Moore lines up with the very best West Memphis has produced, which would include the coach himself.
“He’s right there with the very best. He has all the stats and all the accolades,” Brown said. “Not too many players from West Memphis had his body type.
He is chiseled. He’s just blessed. God just touched him.”
Stepping in at point guard after Cavin Paige set new school records for assists in a season and for a career is junior Jordan Mitchell, who has impressed enough during summer play that he is getting attention from mid-level Division 1 colleges.
“Jordan is a little taller than (Paige), so that means he can step into the lane and rise up and hit jumpers,” said Brown. “He also has good court vision and can shoot the three for us.”
Surrounding Moore in the paint will be 6-foot-8 senior Daveon Doolittle, who will be counted on to be a rim protector on defense.
Also, 6-foot-5 senior Xavier Warren, labeled as “more traditional post player” by Brown, will be in the rotation.
Rounding out the starting five will be senior Akyrahn Hazley and fellow senior Immanuel Hoard, who is the best shooter on the team.
“We will be counting pretty heavily on Hoard to come in and provide some instant offense for us,” Brown said.
Also, combo guard Deon Williams, who played some high-leverage minutes last season down the stretch, will be a defensive stalwart, Also joining the team this year will be transfer Jalon Lewis, who played last year at Memphis Mitchell. Lewis has a chance to provide some strength as a shooter from the perimeter.