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Charlotte Observer Sweet 16 boys basketball countdown: Hough Huskies

Hough’s 2016-17 boys basketball team:From Left: Harrison Barnes, Cooper Crawford, William Taylor, Donovan Barnes, Myles Washington, Dow Dunton, Ben Topp, Paxton Sutton, Justice Rushing, Cameron Montague, Blake Bailey, Jackson Rhodes, Christopher Hill, Chase Praeger
Hough’s 2016-17 boys basketball team:From Left: Harrison Barnes, Cooper Crawford, William Taylor, Donovan Barnes, Myles Washington, Dow Dunton, Ben Topp, Paxton Sutton, Justice Rushing, Cameron Montague, Blake Bailey, Jackson Rhodes, Christopher Hill, Chase Praeger

HOUGH HUSKIES

Head Coach: Jason Grube (3rd year as Hough basketball coach)

Coaching Career Record: 255-195

2015-16 Record: 19-8 (9-3 in the MECKA 4A conference)

Returning Starters: Ben Topp, Sr., F (6-7); Cooper Crawford, Jr., PG (6-0); Damon Early, Jr., F (6-3).

Other Key Returnees: Chase Praeger, Jr., PG (5-8); Jackson Rhodes, Sr., G (5-9); Justice Rushing, Sr., G (5-10); Blake Bailey, Sr., Wing (6-2); Paxton Sutton, Sr., F (6-5); Donovan Barnes, Sr., G (5-11).

Key Newcomers: Myles Washington, Jr., F (6-6) (Berry transfer); Will Taylor, So., F (6-1); Gemeni Kerns, So., G (6-0).

Outlook: The Huskies surprised some people when they finished second-place in the MECKA 4A conference. But Coach Jason Grube relishes the underdog role and will convince his team they have something to prove again this season. Led by 6-foot-7 senior forward Ben Topp and juniors Cooper Crawford and Damon Early, Hough will need a big group performance if this team is going to be league contender and a factor in the 4A playoffs.

--JAY EDWARDS

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