Headrick Happy with New Class
By: Dustin Kent
Jackson County Floridan
First-year Chipola men’s basketball coach Jake Headrick has finished his initial recruiting class. The coach said he’s ecstatic about the collection of talent the Indians’ staff has brought on for next season.
Chipola has signed six freshman and four transfers, although Headrick said the team still had one scholarship available it could use at a later date.
“We had some kids we could’ve brought in, but the chemistry has been so good for our team,” the coach said. “We want to bring in the right piece and the right fit for the team.”
Headrick said the players he has brought in match the style he wants the Indians to play under his watch: fast and faster.
“Speed is definitely our strength. We want to use it and take advantage of it,” the coach said. “Our goal is to play pressure defense, to be able to guard the full length of the floor and make people guard us. We want to make stops, and then get out and run for 40 minutes.”
The Indians will certainly have the guards to play that style, with highly-regarded sophomore Lashay Page to be joined by a quick and talented group of incoming freshmen.
John Taylor of Chicago, Dexter Ellington of Culthbert, Ga., and Sam Grooms of Greensboro, N.C., each bring quickness to the point guard position and will help key the Indians’ fast-paced attack. Chipola also brings in a group of big, versatile guards and wing players, such as 6-foot, 4-inch, 215-pound Marvin Fitzgerald; 6-foot, 6-inch, 240-pound Aaron Davis; 6-foot, 7-inch Kevin Powell; and 6-foot, 6-inch, 220-pound LSU transfer Delwan Graham.
“Those guys can play numerous positions, they can all make shots and all make plays off the bounce,” Headrick said. “To me, that’s tough to guard when you have guys who can guard multiple positions, but also put the ball on the floor and make a play.
“We wanted guys who were versatile, can do a lot of different things, and are all capable of making shots.”
For the post, Headrick signed 6-foot, 9-inch Steadman Short, who transferred in from High Point, where he averaged seven points and seven rebounds as a freshman.
Chipola also brought in 6-foot, 7-inch Chaz Thomas out of Pfeiffer, N.C., and the big prize of 6-foot, 9-inch, 240-pound Chadrack Lufile, who Headrick said was regarded as the top recruit in Canada.
“He’s a kid who has only played basketball for two years, but he’s a kid who everybody knows what he’s capable of,” the coach said. “He’s a kid we’re expecting big things from. He’s got a chance to have a special career.”
Short will also be counted on to give the Indians post production, after the departures of Torye Pelham, Gary Flowers, Jeremy Jacob and Jon Kreft from last year’s team.
“With the experience, the knowledge and the work ethic he brings, he’s a guy that knows what it takes,” Headrick said of Short. “He has stood out because of his experience and his talent. He’s a kid that will have a lot of opportunities when he leaves here.”
The Indians also bring in two walk-ons, in guards Rod Lanon and Danny Cummins.
With the team in place, now comes the hard work of preparing them to carry the mantle of one of the nation’s top programs.
“Now it’s about getting them ready for the Panhandle Conference, getting them ready to be a part of this program at Chipola that’s built on winning,” Headrick said. “It’s getting these guys to realize the importance of being able to bring it every day.
“I couldn’t be any happier with the guys we have and how hard they’ve worked. At the end of the day, it’s like I tell our guys, those eight or nine guys that stick out, they’re going to play the most.”