The 2017-18 high school basketball season is approaching like a runaway freight train.
In less than a week, official fall practice starts. It’s Nov. 6 starting date is one of the earliest allowed in the past few years, but the start of practice comes none too soon for Carbondale High School’s Head Coach Jim Miller.
“That starting time only gives us about two weeks till the season starts,” Miller said. “We play at the Alton tournament the week of Nov. 20, so that’s not a lot of time to prepare.”
However, the Terriers had a lot of time to hone its game all throughout the summer.
Carbondale played probably 20-plus games on the Summer Circuit traveling from Paducah to Charleston, and so are primed to head into the whirlwind nonconference schedule with kind of a running start.
CCHS will start play Nov. 20 at Alton with a 6 p.m., game against Carnahan, Missouri, and then play St. Mary’s Friday of that week. Then the tournament takes a strange turn on Friday, Nov. 25.
That day the Terriers play a third tournament game, but this one will be at 4 p.m., in Bowen Gym. In an interesting twist, the Terriers will have a home game with South Seven foe Belleville Althoff that counts both on their Alton Tournament record and as a South Seven conference game.
Carbondale will then finish its Alton Tournament duties with a final game against host Alton in Alton.
What Miller will put on the floor in 2017-18 will probably be the most talented team seen at Bowen for many years. The roster is full of Division I college basketball recruits, has a rapidly developing sophomore star and, possibly, may acquire part to the Terrier basketball puzzle that has been missing for a year or so.
There are two senior Terriers who have already given their verbal commitment to Division I programs. Local Saluki hoops fans know about Darius Beane, the three-star recruit who will sign with SIU on Nov. 8.
Also signing that week with Ball State is wing guard Kani Acree.
Sophomore James Baltz still is a little raw in his skill set, but will be one of the strongest front-line starters in the South Seven. He needs to work on finishing with contact under the hoop in order to reach his full potential.
One to-be-confirmed piece of the 2017-18 team is Zee Johnson. Two years ago, Johnson was a promising sophomore for CCHS, but he moved to Elkville in 2016-17 and played for Elverado high. There he averaged 19.1 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game, albeit against 1-A competition.
There are rumors flying that Johnson will be back in a Terrier uniform for 2017-18. If so, the Terriers will be one of the longest, most athletic teams in the state.