Vance's William Robinson has been coaching a long time and has seen talent come and go.
He thinks this year his Cougars are a team that can be one of his best if they continue to come together.
Robinson, entering his 25th season as a head coach, knows this team can be special. Five underclassmen start, including a freshman and a sophomore, and the team started the year 6-3, despite having played all but one game on the road.
"Our guys have really embraced what I am teaching them so far, and we think and hope that playing all these games in hostile crowds will help us in the long run," Robinson said.
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"I know that we don't need to worry about our guys when we go play in another house, even though I am going to have to make them re-learn their own locker rooms."
The Cougars are road-tested, young and athletic, despite losing five of their top seven scorers from last year. Junior Caleb Davis and sophomore Derick Brewer, both part-time starters a season ago, lead a young team that's hungry to make a name for itself in a talented conference.
Brewer is the Cougars' leading scorer, at more than 17 points per game. He also averages 3.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game.
Davis, a 6-0 point guard, has averaged 10 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.7 steals and 4.7 assists per game.
"Both of these guys started some and got some experience last year," Robinson said. "They worked hard in their off-season workouts and on skill development and have turned themselves into really good players.
"We expected them to take their game to the next level, and they have been able to do that so far. They have transitioned well."
Coming into the year, Davis said, he knew he was going to have to be more of a leader and looked forward to the chance. That made for an easy transition to being more vocal on the court and in the locker room.
While the two leading scorers have contributed more in all aspects, Brewer said the makeup of this team is very different from last year.
"We have started out pretty well, but it is totally different. Guys aren't in the same spots as they were last year," Brewer said. "We have done well so far, but we have a different caliber team with different pieces to the puzzle.
Daryl Roby has led a great supporting cast with 7 points and 6 rebounds per game. Jalen Latter and Torin Dorn have also contributed.Robinson said Vance belongs in the mix in the I-Meck 4A.
"We are young right now, but that label will go away," he said. "We have some skilled players on this team who have a chance to play at the next level if they keep improving and working hard. They have bright futures, and we are going to be fine by the end of the year."