“There’s excitement in the program,” head coach Jason Slate said, entering his third year with the Cougars’ program. “We have expectations and goals that we expect to meet and aren’t concerned about what others think.”
Alexander, who must replace last season’s leading scorer Karim Mawuenyega and Lemarcus Frazier due to graduation, still returns a strong unit led by senior point guard Hassani Gravett, who averaged seven points last season and will attend Gardner-Webb next fall. “Hassani came off the bench last year, played well and we’re expected a lot out of him,” Slate said.
Senior guard Jaquon Grier has been in the starting lineup for three seasons and provides strong perimeter defense to Alexander. Senior Kevion Dailey will also be a part of the guard rotation for the Cougars.
The frontcourt returns junior Jermaine Carpenter who was among the team leaders in rebounds last season. “Jermaine has grown since last season and has worked hard in the weight room,” Slate said. “We’re going to need [him] to give us scoring and rebounding inside, something we were lacking last season.”
Alexander’s football team has had a record-breaking season itself and has been firmly entrenched in the playoffs for weeks, altering the preparations for the basketball team.
“This has been a different situation for me,” Slate said. “We have several players on our team that also play football.
“We’ve moved some games around and junior varsity guys have gotten extra practice time.”
Despite the adjustments to preseason preparations and inserting new personnel into the starting lineup, Alexander still looks poised to make another postseason run.
“Last season was a strong year for us and we expect to keep getting better,” Slate said. The Cougars will open the season at home on Saturday against New Manchester.