Head coach Gregg Holifield said that the loss of three good players last season, Matt Ritch, Sherwin Jones and Brandon Washington, takes away three solid perimeter scorers as the three made 76 of the Bulldogs' 103 3-pointers last season.
"We do have a lot of work to do," said Holifield. "I think we're quick, I think we'll be able to guard, rebound and defend, but we don't shoot the ball very well. We've got to be more patient offensively and get the ball where it's supposed to be."
Holifield said that sophomore Darryl Howard will get some playing time on varsity this season and said that Jackson has improved from last year.
"We have a good nucleus back," he said. "We did lose some good players but hopefully we'll be able to make some adjustments and get the job done."
As for his returning all-stater, Porter, Holifield said that he's improved over the offseason as well.
"Michael's (Porter) improved and he's worked hard," said Holifield. "He's gotten much better and he's doing an excellent job leading the team."
Once again, the Bulldogs will play host to the SEMO Conference Tournament where they took third place over the Notre Dame Bulldogs by a final score of 78-45 in 2007. Also, the Bulldogs will travel to Poplar Bluff for the Showdown, set to take place Dec. 29-31. The championship game of that tourney is on New Year's Eve. Last season the Bulldogs placed fifth out of eight teams in the tourney as they compiled a 2-1 record over three days of action.
The district tournament has also moved back to the Sikeston Field House after spending last season at Perryville.
"We're looking forward to that," said Holifield of playing district host. "It's always good to play at home. I know our players will be excited about it, but it's a very difficult district as we've found out the last three or four years. So, whoever is playing well at that time has a shot to win it."
When asked about the comparison of area teams as far as what they have returning, Holifield said that he would like to think that Sikeston has an advantage, but stated that other clubs won't back down either.
"I think we do have some good experience coming back, especially with Michael (Porter) back," he said. "You would like to think so, but I think Notre Dame is going to be darn good again so we'll have to see what happens."
The Bulldogs kickoff the season Saturday at 6:15 p.m. in Cape Girardeau at the Show-Me Center in the Pepsi Showcase.
"We're ready to get started," said Holifield. "We've got a tough schedule with Lafayette right off the bat. They should be as good as anybody in the state. Then, we go to Blytheville and they're always very tough, especially down there. So, we better be ready to play because our schedule is tough and there are no easy ones."