Greenbrier High School boys basketball coach Casey Heckathorn doesn't want to tip his hand too early.
Part of the reason is that he's not sure yet what he's holding.
The first-year Wolfpack coach worked with a group of his players during summer ball, a stretch of about 15 games. But he will wait until after football season has concluded to know what his final roster will look like, and how his personnel will affect the Wolfpack's style of play.
Heckathorn's only history with the current group has been teaching some of them in middle school.
"Beyond that, I really don't know any of the kids that well on a personal level or even a basketball level," Heckathorn said. "I just haven't seen much of them other than what we did this summer."
Heckathorn took over for Casey Dees, who left to coach the first boys basketball team at Grovetown High. The Wolfpack will play a second season in Atlanta-centric Region 2-AAAAA.
Under Dees, Greenbrier made an improbable trip to the Class AAAAA state playoffs after winning its region tournament opener on a buzzer-beater.
Greenbrier's Chad Waddell said the Wolfpack will have a similar goal this season. Waddell is one of three Greenbrier juniors -- Justin Cofer and Dejon Britton are the others -- who have played together since middle school.
He said Wolfpack players should be aided by that chemistry, and by having a season's experience in a tough region.
"We were pretty shell-shocked last year," Waddell said. "It took us a few games to know what to expect. ... It was pretty nice to actually get to go to state."
Heckathorn said he attended a "handful" of Greenbrier's games last season. He installed a fast break and basic half court offense with the players who attended during the summer, but said he does not know what else he might be able to do until the second set of tryouts when football is over.
Even with a player or two added from the football team, Heckathorn doesn't expect a big lineup.
"Potentially, our biggest kid will only be" 6-foot-2 or 6-foot-3, he said. " We're going to have to play small ball and just get out and try to get under people's skin, I guess."
Heckathorn will start his first season as a varsity head coach when Greenbrier plays host to Harlem on Nov. 17.
He coached the Wolfpack's junior varsity team in 2005 and served as an assistant to coach Garrett Black in 2008, Black's last year coaching varsity girls basketball.
Former Greenbrier and Wofford College standout Eric Marshall was slated to assist Heckathorn this season.
Marshall died in July and will be recognized during the Wolfpack's Dec. 1 home game against Grovetown.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.