Clarksville coach Brian McEwen believes he has a team much better than the six wins it notched during the 2018-19 season.
Did taking some lumps last season result in lessons learned for the Generals? McEwen thinks that will be the case.
Dae'von Fuqua leads a group of four returning starters for Clarksville. The junior guard averaged 19 points, 3.5 steals, six rebounds and three assists last season.
But ultimately, McEwen needs his three other returning starters to elevate their games and needs to find a low post presence to — most importantly — solidify the interior defense.
Keyshawn Minor, Jaren Starks and Dakota Capps all flashed their potential at times last season, but consistency from the four guards will be crucial.
• Minor (8 ppg) had 17 points in a sectional semifinal loss to Providence.
• Jaren Starks (9 ppg) ripped the nets for nine 3-pointers and 31 points in the team's best win of the season, a 73-65 victory against a much bigger North Harrison squad in February.
"He had a good summer, playing with Dae'von on a Zeller AAU team. He's really confident. These last couple weeks, he's shot the ball really well," McEwen said.
Clarksville had some near wins against quality teams as well. Starks hit four 3-pointers as the Generals were even with a ranked Crawford County squad with under two minutes to play.
"We had a really good summer. That year of experience really was huge for them. It was the first year of varsity basketball for everyone on the entire roster," McEwen said. "With those four coming back, they had a year where not quite able to physically compete. They're chomping at the bit to go out and deliver some lumps to other teams. They learned a ton. Had to deal with a lot of different situations. Hopefully, they've learned those lessons."
McEwen looks to a trio of forwards to help solidify the low block. Marquise Forward, at 6-foot-2, provides a "fairly athletic, good-sized body" along with 6-4 Larry Spalding and Connor Page, who "shoots the ball really well and plays off of the other four guys really well," McEwen said.
Freshman guard Robert Lamar, will provide another strong athlete in the backcourt.
While Silver Creek will be the clear favorite in the Mid-Southern Conference race, there are several other strong teams including defending MSC champion Brownstown Central, North Harrison and Scottsburg.
"We essentially return everybody. We may return more than anybody. We've got an opportunity to contend up there near the top of the standings," McEwen said.