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June 28, 2013

SUMMER UPDATE — New Albany boys' basketball

Shannon likes what he has seen June

SPARTA — The New Albany boys’ basketball team is almost finished with its summer season.

And according to veteran Bulldogs’ coach Jim Shannon, it has been a good summer.

Despite losing six seniors from last year’s 15-8 team, Shannon likes what he has seen so far from his younger players. He has especially been impressed with the improvement of 6-foot guard Leondre McBirth, who will be a senior next season.

“Leondre McBirth is pretty much the leader of this team. He’s been leading by example,” Shannon said. “We’re coming together as a team. We do not have much varsity experience, but we feel like we are making inroads.”

New Albany has been extremely busy this month. The Bulldogs competed in the Kentuckiana High School Summer Basketball League in early June and then went 3-0, including a big win over Doss (Ky.), in the New Albany Summer HoopFest on June 20 at The Doghouse.

Last weekend, the Bulldogs played in a United States Sports and Fitness Association tournament in Indianapolis. On Thursday, they started play in the D-One Camp in Fort Wayne and will be there the remainder of the weekend.

“We have been playing a lot of basketball in June,” said Shannon, who will give his troops July and August off. “Our team has been very competitive. Our team has become a closer team, and I think it will pay off next year.

“June is a whirlwind. You find out a lot about your kids. I’ve been very pleased with the summer, and I have no regrets at all.”

Despite a productive summer, Shannon says there is no guarantee that his team will have a great season in 2013-14.

“It’s way too early to tell. The summer is the summer,” Shannon said. “We don’t want to get too high, and we don’t want to get too low. We’re trying to find that happy medium.”

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