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Hoops take center court at Bluestone / November 27, 2013

The Bluestone Barons start the 2013 basketball season with a new coaching staff and with a different style of play.

This season’s coaching staff consists of Waverly Jackson, jayvee basketball coach Crocker and head coach Kelvin Tucker — taking the reigns of the team for the first time this year.

Tucker is a 1987 graduate of Bluestone who is probably best remembered for his baseball prowess as a student-athlete. This is his first time coaching basketball on this level, but Tucker is looking forward to the opportunity to coach at his alma mater.

“I’m very excited about it,” Tucker said. “It wasn’t my sport at Bluestone but I love the game and like playing it.

“I’ve coached a lot of these kids in youth league and have established personal relationships with some of them already. I think that does help make the coaching transition a little easier for me, and them, because it is a change.”

Not unlike many rural high school coaches, Tucker has several football players just finishing up the season and hitting the basketball court for practice. After a week of practice with most of the team, he is feeling good about what he is seeing.

“I think we are on track as to where we should be at this time in the season,” Tucker said.

The team saw their starting point guard from last year, Darius Baskerville, injure his knee in the first week of practice. Since that time, backup guard Dashaun Pamplin has come in and done a nice job of running the point position. “Both have different strengths and bring different things to the game.”

The perimeter play should be a strength for the Barons this year. Tucker said the team has some good three-point shooters and he has been happy with the progress he has seen there.

Tucker said the paint-game is also coming together well, with some height and strength — if not necessarily in the same package. “If we are hitting from the perimeter, that only opens the paint up more for us and gives us more opportunities,” he said.

Tucker said if he has a style of basketball he wants the team to be known for having, it would be as a quick and powerful team that plays tough defense and will hustle after the ball.

Tucker said the coaching staff is working with the players to see the entire floor and game and realize and take advantage of opportunities — offensively or defensively.

“I do want the guys to see that what we do, or how we run our offense is not etched in stone,” Tucker stated. “I want the team to understand if we are running a play and you (the ball handler) and another player see a wide-open back door play — you know, don’t pass it up just because the next move in the play doesn’t go there.

“We need more of our players to see the entire floor and recognize good opportunities — and it will happen. The team is working hard.”

Bluestone will compete for a postseason berth in the 2-A East Conference 34 division. Schools in the conference are Brunswick, Greensville, Goochland, Nottoway, Prince Edward and Amelia County.

The Barons will open regular season play next Wednesday, December 4 when they match up with county rival Park View.

“Things are coming together and we have some very talented and smart kids who can play some ball,” Tucker said.

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