When the 2013-14 boys’ basketball season begins at New Albany High School in November, one of the players who Bulldog fans will be looking to lead their team will be senior Dre McBirth.
The 6-foot guard battled through some injuries last year, which limited his playing time. But in the Class 4A Seymour Sectional semifinals, McBirth hit one of the biggest shots of the year for the Bulldogs.
With one second left in regulation, McBirth nailed a 19-foot jumper to give New Albany a 61-59 win over Jennings County. The Bulldogs, though, lost the following night in the sectional final to Jeffersonville, 63-50. New Albany finished the season with a 15-8 record.
McBirth has high goals for the upcoming season. He has his sights set on leading the Jim Shannon-coached Bulldogs to a Hoosier Hills Conference title and the Class 4A Seymour Sectional championship.
After scoring six points in the boys’ varsity game in the Battle of the Bridges last Saturday in Louisville, freelance writer Ryan Ingram talked with McBirth about various topics as the News and Tribune sports department continues its “On the Spot” series.
• QUESTION: How frustrating was it last year, being injured and not being able to be on the court?
• MCBIRTH: “It was kind of frustrating not being able to play with my team, but I feel like I bounced back during sectionals. It was a pretty tough time.”
• Q: How has your summer gone?
• MCBIRTH: “Pretty good. I got a call from Bellarmine, so I’m pretty excited to play this season and start my senior year at New Albany.”
• Q: What role do you see yourself in at New Albany this year?
• MCBIRTH: “A leader. Anything I can do to help my team win, I’m willing to do that — scoring points, passing, rebounding, playing defense, doing the whole thing.”
• Q: What can New Albany accomplish as a team?
• MCBIRTH: “I feel like we can win sectionals, and I feel like we can win our conference this year. We’re underestimated, so we’ll have to prove people wrong.”
• Q: What are your thoughts on what is going on at Jeffersonville? Does that leave the door open for you guys due to the coaching change?
• MCBIRTH: “Not really. I don’t base it off of that. We’ll just see what happens during the season.”
• Q: What is it like to play for Coach Shannon?
• MCBIRTH: “It’s great. He’s one of the best coaches in the state. He’s taught me a lot through my four years at New Albany. He’s made me a better player I feel like.”
• Q: Which of your teammates has had a good summer?
• MCBIRTH: “Really everybody had a good summer. Everybody contributed as a team, and we came out with a special summer. We’re pretty excited to all play together again.”
• Q: What do you think about school starting so early this year? Has that changed your summer workouts?
• MCBIRTH: “Somewhat. I wasn’t expecting it to start this early, but it’s really not that big of a deal. The sooner school gets started, the sooner we can play.”