If the summer was any indication of things to come when the regular season begins this fall, the Port Allen Pelicans basketball team will get every team’s best shot.
Port Allen wrapped up a challenging summer schedule late last month with the focus on new experiences and building team chemistry.
The Pelicans were fortunate to play on four different college campuses competing against top programs in and out of the state.
“It was a chance for us to incorporate some new guys,” said Port Allen head coach Derrick Jones. “We wanted to bond and have some new experiences. We played on four college campuses and they were able to hear stories from coaches and players about what it took for them to get where they are. From that perspective, it was phenomenal.”
Port Allen traveled to Memphis, Tennessee for the University of Memphis team camp where the Pelicans finished 2-1.
“When we went to Memphis, I thought we played great basketball,” Jones said. “We went 2-1. We really showed our level of potential.”
Jones said one thing that seemed to change this summer compared to previous summers was how opponents responded to playing against his team.
Following last season’s run to the Class 2A state championship, the Pelicans have gained more respect and with that, you get a team’s best game, according to the coach.
“There’s a thing now when you’re playing Port Allen,” Jones said. “People are posting on Facebook when they beat us with mostly our JV players. It’s a testament to the work they put in and how we prepared. Every game is going to be a big game for our opponent.
We were able to sneak up on people the last two years,” he continued. “We won’t have that luxury now.”
Senior big man Collin Holloway is a new addition to the team and looks to be a force in the middle for the Pelicans this season.
“It was really cool to see a new guy coming in and they welcomed him with open arms,” Jones said. There was no hating on him or nothing. It just shows they want to win.”
Jones said July is reserved for voluntary workouts, but the focus will be on fundamental skills when they return to school in August.
“We have a ton of work to do,” he said. “We have a goal to win state, but we want to expand our goal. Can we compete from Day 1 to be one of the best teams in the state.”