The Mallard Creek boys' basketball team faces another year of uncertainty. In only its fifth season of existence, and despite their yearly turnover, there is reason to expect this is the Mavericks team that gets the program going in the right direction.
There are many new faces again this season, but there is steady guard play and it is the second year for head coach David Rutledge.
Despite never having a winning season and winning 10 or fewer games each of the first four years, there is hope that this year they will turn it all around.
Rutledge was able to implement his system last year and has two talented seniors.
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Led by guard Jamal White, who averages over 12 points and three assists per game, the Mavericks are off to a 8-2 start and won their first three conference games, on the road against Lake Norman and against Mooresville and Vance at home.
"We have a new team again and it will take a while for us to get familiar with everyone, but we have a lot of talent and guys who are out here for the right reasons," White said. "It will take a while to adjust, but we have been good to this point."
One key to the quick adjustment is senior Bradley Robinson, who leads the Mavericks in scoring with more than 16 points per game. Robinson played as a sophomore but was not on the team last year.
"It is a good team and I feel right at home and have been able to fit right in up to this point," Robinson said. "We have good players and have a bunch of guys ... who have really good attitudes. We are all here for the same reasons and I think that is important."
White agreed, and feels this team is more talented than they were a season ago. In addition, having the will to be team players and work hard to get better is what will ultimately make them better as the season wears on.
"We are still a work in progress and we are trying to put it all together every day in practice," White said. "We are really skilled and can get out and run when we need to. Once we get it all working, we are going to be a good team capable of beating anyone in the conference.
"Every night will be a fight for us, but we have the talent to be more than competitive."
Joining White and Robinson is high-scoring guard Dominique Henderson, who averages 12 points per game.
"We are by no means a great team at this point, but we have the potential to be great by the end of the year," White said. "It is a work in progress."