The tip to the 2012-13 campaign is ticking down on the Villa Rica High School boys basketball coach, who only had some of his players on the practice floor for one day before hitting a new year on the hardwood tonight at 7:30 against Chapel Hill in Douglasville.
“We’re a little behind, it seems like. It keeps cutting time off the season and leaves us less and less time to prepare. We played a scrimmage game [Tuesday] and didn’t play very well. But that’s to be expected, I guess. We played a lot of kids. You know, all 15 that we had. A lot of new faces,” Robinson said. “But at the same time, we’ve got about six or seven kids that were in our program last year. So we’re looking forward to opening the season up and getting everybody on the same page.”
The Wildcats lost nine seniors from last year’s squad, but bring back a senior class of five players to go along with eight juniors this winter. Of the 15 players on the roster, 11 have been in the program for at least one year, with many of them having multiple years of experience, albeit not all at the varsity level.
“Kelvin Bonds and Delano Mims are two seniors we’re looking to give us some strong minutes. Other kids in that junior class — Josh Lay, Marcus Miller, De’Shaun Dorsey and Rodney Hill — are some guys that we hope can do some big things for us,” Robinson said. “We’ve got a lot of pieces, but we’ve just got to piece them together.”
With football and other fall sports now wrapped up at VR, Robinson’s work really hits full stride in finding the right combinations on the court.
“We had a fairly good summer. I was pleased with our summer. We’re just trying to get them all back into a basketball mindset. We had a few playing football and one of them running cross country. So, realistically, they’ve only been back with us one day. We need to get everybody back in the swing of things,” Robinson said. “We’ve just got to protect the basketball and do what we do.”
The Wildcats move up to Class AAAAA this season, but remain in Region 5. The region drops from 14 teams to 11 under reclassification, as the four Cobb County schools — Osborne, Pope, Kell and Sprayberry — along with Douglas County and Alexander, are no longer region foes for the Cats. Joining the region are Allatoona, Rome and Woodland, Cartersville.
And after missing out on the postseason last year following a trip to the Class AAAA quarterfinals in 2010-11, Robinson and the Cats are looking to get back in the playoffs at the AAAAA level.
“It’s sub-divided, and I feel like our half of the region has traditionally been a stronger region, as far as basketball is concerned,” Robinson said. “But with that being said, we’ve just got to come ready to play. There is some familiarity with each other, and that’s a good thing, as far as preparation is concerned. We faced a lot of those guys over the summer.”
The other major piece of excitement for the VR program is the opening of its new gymnasium, which has been pushed back to a tentative Jan. 4 debut against Lithia Springs following the Christmas holidays.
Robinson only scheduled four home games prior to the holiday break — which will be played in the old gymnasium — where the Cats will bid farewell to on Dec. 14 against Woodland, Cartersville if all goes as planned.
“We thought that we might be able to get into it before Christmas, but there’s just some backup stuff. But other than that, we’re just looking forward to the season getting started and getting ready for that grind,” Robinson said.