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A Selma High School player drives to the basket against Southside last season. The Saints have played four playdates this summer, including their Basketball Explosion that took place in early June and featured 15 basketball teams from around the state. -- File Photo

Selma hopes playdates translate to on-court success

Published 6:49pm Friday, July 5, 2013

By Daniel Evans
The Selma Times-Journal

As a young team trying to gain on-court experience, Selma High School has participated in four basketball playdates this offseason.

The Saints hosted their “Basketball Explosion” at the school at the beginning of June, with 15 schools from around the state taking part. They also participated in playdates at Montgomery Academy, the University of Alabama, and Homewood.

Each school is allowed a maximum of four playdates each summer.  So far, Selma head coach Woodie Jackson has been very pleased with the progress of his team this offseason.

“We are very pleased with the progress of the young men. We have a very young team coming back from last year,” Jackson said. “This year there is a probability that we will have only two or three seniors on the team. [We have] one that has a great deal of playing experience and he will be playing in the North-South game on the 17th.”

The senior Jackson referenced is point guard Keshawn Ford, who was selected to take place in the AHSAA All-star game on June 17. Ford is going to have to do a lot of leading by example for the Saints, who are going to rely on his scoring a lot.

“He is going to have to do a lot of the leading. He is a scoring point guard. He is not a big boy but he can definitely score the ball, so we are going to look for him to do some of that also,” Jackson said. “Keshawn can be considered a combo guard. He is not very big in stature but like I said he is a scoring point guard, so we will be allowing him to look to score but also a point guard has to set up his teammates. He is a tremendous passer.”

Last season, Ford averaged around 13 points per game, four rebounds per game, and three assists per game. Jackson is also hoping to have another senior star this upcoming season.

“We also have another senior that is coming up. He was one of the guys who didn’t play that much last year, but he has out of this world potential if he comes around…  Kahmal Jones, he is a tremendous player,” Jackson said. “He has a little height. He’s about 6-5. If he comes around and becomes the ball player he can, we will be okay.”

Jones did not play a lot last season due to some off the court issues.

“He is slim built. In the past when we had him he played in the post. By far he had the best footwork — without a shadow of a doubt —in this area. Nobody can match him. I haven’t seen anybody around here in the last four or five years that could match him as far as the footwork down in the post,” Jackson said. “Catch face-up, with his back to the basket, catch up-and-under, catch dropdstep to the baseline. He’s got all of it. I know at his size he won’t be able to play on the inside at the next level, so I moved him out to the 3 this summer. He is the most athletic guy on the team by far. He can handle the ball some.  He has got that medium range shot. He can shoot the 15-16 footer. He goes and gets it on the boards. “

Jackson is hoping that some of his junior varsity players can step in and play big roles this upcoming season.

This offseason he has been going over fundamentals a lot.

“We worked on basic fundamentals this summer.  Fundamental skills. We showed a lot of growth in the guys,” Jackson said. “They were young last year, except for Keshawn and maybe one or two others was an all B-team player that came up from the junior varsity last year. We are looking for him to step in and play a big role this year.”

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