Vikings adjust to life without Roberson
June 26 â INGOMAR – North Pontotoc basketball officially came into life without Ty Roberson.
The program’s all-time leading scorer graduated, along with seven other seniors, making this summer one of the major adjustments for head coach Chris Parman and the rest of the inexperienced Vikings.
Roberson, a region-wide first-team selection by the Daily Journal, averaged 25 points per game last season and led the team in scoring each of the past three seasons.
Replacing his instant attack with a single player is not an option.
“I just want to see them play. We haven’t put on anything for the summer because they have to learn to play. You have to learn to dribble, shoot and pass before you can play,” Parman said. “Without Ty he could score and I wouldn’t call. We’re going to have to spread the score now.”
The Vikings only bring back two players with any sort of college action from last year’s 10-14 team – sixth-man Jordan Pitts and Eli Baker. Baker was used as a bench candle shooter in limited action last season, but Parman said he needed more from the rising junior to move forward.
âLast year he came in basically just to shoot it, but now he’s our main ball manager and he has to play defense. He has to do more than just shoot it,â said Parman.
Baker’s shooting ability, paired with that of junior Nick Burchfield, is something that Parman says can keep his team in games next season. The Vikings’ ability beyond the arc could be a remedy for other issues like turnovers and rebounds.
âWe’ve been talking for years that if you can take shots you can win games,â Parman said. âAll of these coaches are talking about just playing good defense and you will win championships, but you still have to be able to shoot.
“Overall, this team can do better or as well as me over the past four years.”
Hope springs forth
A ray of hope that has sprung from summer is the play of freshman Nash Guerin. The lightly framed guard has already broken the starting rotation, and his development could help the Vikings navigate a brutal slate of Division 2-4A that includes rivals County Pontotoc and South Pontotoc, as well as powers like New Albany, Ripley and Houston.
âHe’s going to play a huge role from now until he graduates,â Parman said. “He’s extremely good. He’s as good as Ty was in first year. His biggest thing is that he needs time, time to play.”