Nothing is guaranteed in life, and that includes basketball.
A strong crop of returnees could lead the Port Allen boys basketball team to an exciting season, but a tough slate of pre-district opponents and a solid district of their own bring plenty of challenges to the court for the Pels this season.
"We have a lot of new guys, and some guys trying to get acclimated, but we haven't changed a lot as far as philosophy," second-year head coach Derrick Jones said. "It's not as simple as picking up where we left off, integrating the new and the old, getting guys on the same page, and continue to develop our culture."
It will take an aggressive showing for the Pels to make an impact this season, he said.
"We need to play fast and push the tempo, but to do that, you have to make good decisions and take care of the ball and focus on rebounding," Jones said. "We're not the biggest team, so we have to be one of the more gritty ones, more fundamentally sound as far as pivoting and taking care of the basketball as far as offense and playing unselfishly and taking good shots -- all things that good teams do.
“The experience and level of familiarity with the speed and the system in place should help, but it will take time to develop the chemistry,” Jones continued. "We have a really challenging schedule, one of the toughest I've seen in the area. It's going to be a test for us early, but our mindset is to prepare ourselves for playoffs best we can, late February into March, and that's why we scheduled the way we did. We're playing some good programs, but I feel we have a good team we well, so we're excited to move on, get better, and be in a position to compete in playoffs."
Returnees for the 2018-19 Pelicans include 6-2 guard Gerrod Franklin, as well as Julien Jarvis, a 6-3 forward who was injured during the middle of the 2017-18 run.
Other potential standouts include 5-11 guard Marcus Joseph, who is returning from football.
Additional key starters will include 5-8 guard Jy'ron Allen and 6-3 sophomore Kentae Williams.
The Pelicans were set to visit Denham Springs today (Nov. 15) and compete next week in the University High tournament, in which the Pels will face Broadmoor, former district foe University High and Comeaux.
"It's going to be a great challenge," Jones said. "It's all about consistency and that's what we teach as far as being successful.
"At the end of the day, we're here to win basketball games, but the lessons here will teach them how to approach their families and careers as well," he said.