Evans fans will have several reasons to cheer at Knights games this year. One of those reasons is 6 feet 7 inches tall.
Junior center Matt Clark is the tallest of several big men on the Knights team this season. Clark will start underneath the basket for an Evans basketball team that's looking to reach new heights.
"We've got some size," Evans basketball coach Kevin Kenny said. "We're excited about this year."
Clark isn't the only offensive weapon Kenny has this season.
The Knights back court returns completely intact from a team that went 13-9 last season.
Seniors Glenn Miller and Jerome Manuel will team up with junior Brandon Durr this year in the Knights' three-guard offense.
"I'd put up these three guards against any in the area," Kenny said. "As a group, they're some of the best I've seen."
In addition to the talent, the team also has the necessary experience for success.
After taking the court with 10 new faces last season, the Knights return to this season's squad nine players who have seen quality minutes.
"We feel we can do a lot of different things with the boys we have," Kenny said.
Evans will need that experience, especially through the first month of the season. The Knights play at least their first five games away from home including two road tournaments. Evans' first home game won't be played until Dec. 6.
Kenny said the road schedule is a good way to prepare for the postseason.
"Our first goal is to win the region or at least get into the state playoffs," Kenny said. "Those tournaments will help us get ready."
Evans girls basketball coach Tim Whitfield will also have some added size on the 2005-06 roster.
Lady Knights newcomer Denisha Lynch will take over at the center position and complement the play of forward Lauren Middleton.
"Denisha will add a physical presence for us," Whitfield said. "We've got a lot of depth this year."
The team did lose last season's starting point guard, Becca Gibbs, to graduation. Sophomore Janay Moore will take over the ball handling duties this season, but Whitfield said Moore's youth won't be a problem.
"It's hard to find a good point guard in high school, but I know Janay can do it," Whitfield said.
With five seniors and seven juniors on the squad, the Lady Knights have the senior leadership that has eluded them in the past.
"I've got girls on my third team that I may have started three years ago," Whitfield said.
The Knights and Lady Knights will open regular season play Saturday at Burke County.
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