By Gene Phelps
Special to the Gazette
Timbo Henderson believes there will be life after Cole Phillips when the 2019-20 basketball season rolls around at West Union.
The talented Phillips exited his Eagles career averaging 20 points per game and leading the team in 3-pointers made.
“We’re going to miss Cole, but I feel like these guys are going to step up,” the coach said, following a recent summer league game. “We’ve got the scoring capability that we didn’t utilize as much last year. We’ve had some guys step up. I think we can get a collaborative effort to get that 20 (points).”
The two players he’s counting on to handle the scoring load are seniors – guard Sam Callicutt and guard/forward Luke Willard.
Callicutt stepped in last season when starter Ryder Willard left the team. He averaged 8.5 points per game. He scored 20 against East Union and 17 points twice. He finished with 49 3-pointers.
“When Ryder left last year, Sam jumped into that guard spot,” Henderson said. “He wanted it, he got it and he’s held it. Hopefully, he’ll have a much-quicker trigger this year. He has the ability to score a lot.”
Willard, an inside/outside threat, averaged 15.3 points and 7.2 rebounds last season. He scored 20-plus points in nine games and had a season-high of 28 against Jumpertown.
“I don’t think it’s a stretch for Luke to average 20,” Henderson said. “He has the ability to shoot from the perimeter.”
Boo Robertson, a senior, returns and will start at point guard. He averaged 4.1 points and had 41 steals last season.
Another senior, 6-foot-3 post/forward Jerod McDonald, returns in the paint. He averaged 4.1 points and 4.8 rebounds. Henderson is counting on him for more offense this season.
“This group has been together awhile. I’m excited to go with them this year,” he said.
Henderson’s goal this summer is to get experience for his younger players. He’s playing the summer with two varsity teams and a junior varsity.
“I’ve got to get more kids floor time,” he said. “We want to get people on the floor, get them some confidence so they don’t freak out when they get out there.”
The team got shot of confidence this summer with an overtime win against New Albany.
“When we got ready for the New Albany game. They were hungry, ready to play,” Henderson said. “I wish they would play every game with that intensity.”