Now that Tyrone Hayes and Robert Wilson are gone, Cornelius Mitchell's role has increased significantly for Josey.
"He's got to understand that everybody is going to be trying to stop him this year," Josey coach Emmett Rouse said. "Like last Friday and Saturday (in the 100 Black Men Tournament), the first half we played well because (Mitchell) was getting everybody involved.
"But in the second half, he was trying to make too many things happen and trying to live up to everybody's expectations."
The junior averaged 14 points, 11 assists and three steals per game last year to help the Eagles into the Class AAA boys Final Four.
"He's got some big shoes to fill," Rouse said of Mitchell. "He's got to do it all -- get assists, get rebounds and score. By the time he leaves here, his role could be more important than Tyrone's was."
Leroy Jordan has coached his share of star players in his 12 years as Swainsboro's boys coach. He's coached players like Sergio Washington and Dewayne Foots who won several postseason accolades. Jordan puts junior point guard Maurice Mincey in that category.
A 5-foot-10, 180-pounder, Mincey averaged 16 points and seven assists last season to help the Tigers reach the state tournament.
"He's going to be a Division I player," Jordan said. "He's very coachable and he makes good grades. We're hoping he can come in this season and pick up where he left off last season. He's a coach's dream to coach."
BIG SHOES TO FILL:
Anyone thinking North Augusta won't be a contender because the Yellow Jackets lost coach Ron McKie to Cross Creek and Tyrone Walker to graduation should think again.
New coach Keith Arrington built Class A Wheeler County in Alamo, Ga., into a state power before deciding to take over the head coaching job at North Augusta. Arrington is a native of Louisville, Ga.
Walker, a 6-5 forward, was The Augusta Chronicle's South Carolina player of the year last year. Most of the scoring load will fall on transfer Anthony Young, a 6-3 quarterback/forward who led the football team into the state playoffs.
Arrington isn't the only new face among boys' coaches in the South Carolina area. Andy Hallman takes over at Barnwell for Chip Atkins, Donald Williams begins a stint at Allendale-Fairfax and Mike Beasley is in his first year at Blackville-Hilda.
Atkins is now the principal at Williston-Elko.
COUNTED ON AGAIN:
Carlos Rogers was heavily counted on during football season as a star running back. Now, he'll try to carry the load on the basketball court, helping a young Butler squad contend in Region 2-AAAA.
The Bulldogs don't return many players from last season's state playoff team, but Rogers saw significant playing time last season. The Bulldogs have four other players who should see plenty of playing time this season -- sophomore Willie Green, juniors Robert Francis and Derrick Foster and senior Nigel Rhowe.
Williston-Elko will have to wait awhile for its star point guard, David Gleaton, who is starting in Saturday's Upper State championship football game.
Gleaton, who has 10 interceptions this year, averaged more than 16 points a game with seven assists last year for Williston-Elko.
Evans will benefit from the transfer of William Floyd, a 6-foot-2 junior guard from Goldsboro, N.C. Floyd is highly touted and will make an impact with the Knights.