“Here at Tucker, we’re trying to win it all … region (6 AAAAA) and playoff games,” said Tigers coach James Hartry. “I’ve had great (win-loss) records before — 29-1, 31-2 — but as I get older, these seasons are no good if you don’t go deep into the playoffs.”
Hartry, in his 14th season at the helm, has guided past Tucker teams to a state title, four championship game appearances and six GHSA final fours.
On paper, his 2012-13 squad has the talent to add to that rich legacy. Now it just needs to galvanize and meld all the other necessary elements —chemistry, experience, timely playmaking — that separates the good from the elite.
Senior swingman Davonte Fitzgerald, the only returning starter from last season, could also be the difference. The Texas A and M commitment is pouring in 25 points per game.
Fellow senior Cam Myers, a Paideia transfer, will be called on to provide steady play at the point guard position.
Backcourt mate Jon Dunmyer is having a breakthrough junior season as the team’s second-leading scorer.
“When [opposing teams] double up on Fitzgerald, he’s going to be the guy to get us the buckets we need,” said Hartry of Dunmyer.
Junior center Jabari Craig’s development as a post presence will fortify the Tigers’ favored inside-outside offensive sets. The 6 foot 10 transfer from Canada, who’s a hot commodity for Division I scouts, is a relative diamond in the rough seeing as how this is only his third year of playing organized basketball.
As the current rotation adapts to and refines their execution of Hartry’s “flex” offensive scheme — which emphasizes ball movement and perimeter shooting — look for the wins to pile up.
The Tigers got off to a good enough start to the season, going 7-2 start heading into the ultra-competitive Nike Invitational holiday tournament at Columbia High. Perhaps those losses should have an asterisk by them since Craig did not suit up for either.
Tucker found the going a little rough early on in the aforementioned tourney, dropping its first round game to Norland, a heralded squad out of Miami (Fla.) who lost to the Tigers in last year’s matchup.
That aside, look for Hartry’s crew to take its Nike experiences to heart moving forward as the second half of the season beckons.