NEW MADRID -- Although they return four players with varsity experience, the New Madrid County Central Eagles will need time for others to catch up.
"We've got a bunch of juniors, but a lot of them don't have the varsity time yet," said NMCC coach Travis Day. "We're going to be behind a little bit to start off."
Seniors Lamonte Nelson, CJ Chism and Earl Grissom as well as junior Jayshawn McDaniel are four players that will rarely see time off the floor, according to Day.
"A lot of what we're going to do is going to ride off of those four," he said. "They're going to have to clock a lot of minutes for us this year for us to be successful."
The Eagles accumulated just a four-win season last year defeating Pine Bluff, Ark., Kelly, Scott City and, in a somewhat surprising win late in the season, Dexter.
NMCC lost their leading scorer, G'Darius Stevenson, to graduation. Stevenson, in limited games last season, averaged 10.6 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
Out of those returning, Nelson has the most experience under Day playing since he was a sophomore with the varsity squad.
"Basically, he's going to have to step up and lead this bunch with his experience," Day said about Nelson. "He's been playing with us since he was a sophomore and he was in that bunch with Kony (Ealy) and Dontre (Jenkins). He's been there. We're going to lean on him a lot for leadership."
Rounding out the starting five will more than likely be Darren McGlosson, who as a sophomore, saw some playing time with the varsity squad a season ago.
Although the wins have depleted as of late, there is one thing going to remain the same.
"We're still going get after you on defense," Day said. "We're going to be us. You've got to stick to your system. Sometimes you lose players but the system needs to stay the same. We'll tweak a little here or there but we're still going to put pressure on everybody."
NMCC will kick their season off on Friday against Covington, Tenn., during the 2011 Riverbend Classic at 2 p.m.