Darren Blakely is ready to take the reigns and continue the success of last season as the new Pell City Panthers head basketball coach.

Blakely is from Sumter County, where he played basketball and was a part of a state championship team his senior year.

Because of his love for the game he would later volunteer for 15 years as a basketball coach there and see five state, three runner-up and several other regional championship seasons while working as an assistant.

He said that this year he is planning to build on the success left behind by former head coach Chris Graves. “We have set a foundation that we want to defend” Blakely said. “My philosophy is defending and being tough in the bucket. We’ll be disciplined and I think we have a good chance to do fairly well and hopefully better as the year goes on.”

He said that his players have been working hard in the pre-season on conditioning and with their defensive strategy.

Blakely admits he’s a stickler for D. “I am a defense person and because of it, we work on that everyday,” he said. “Our offense will come after that.”

He talked about the return of fast breaker Tommy Moss and other members of the Panthers squad that have been on the grid iron for the past few months.

“A couple of our main players [were playing] football,” he said. “So, we’ve got to get them in here and evaluate them and see where they are and what they can do. I feel like that if I want to press and they can’t, then there’s no reason to do it. Hopefully, they’ll be able to and we can get some good buckets and play good defense.”

He said he’ll be looking for the best tin the Panthers as they head into their season.

“We’ll see how our team goes to get their way to Jacksonville this season,” Blakely said. “It’s going to be a tough road in our area. You’ve got teams like Gadsden City and Oxford and Hewitt [Trussville.] They’re all well coached and hopefully we can compete and meet our goals and get our team to the regionals.”

Trending Video

This Week's Circulars

Recommended for you