Former coaches make return with Neshoba Central

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 23, 2003

This is the second of a series profiling matchups in Saturday’s Red Carpet Classic. Today: Warren Central. Friday: St. Aloysius

[1/23/03]Neshoba Central coach Kelvin Smith expects few surprises when his team squares off against Warren Central in the final game of the Red Carpet Classic on Saturday.

More than having already beaten the Vikings, Smith is keenly aware of what Warren Central’s players can do. He coached four of the starters while he was the 9th-grade coach at WC.

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“I coached (WC leading scorer) Dewayne Washington, and (point guard) Ronnie Jones, Sedrick Williams, and I’ll tell you, Daryl Harper impressed me big time,” said Smith, in his second year coaching Neshoba Central. “He is really developing his skills.”

Smith also knows all about the RCB, having been an assistant coach for one season with the Vikings and participating in an RCB.

“The atmosphere is always great and I still have a lot of friends over in Vicksburg,” Smith said. “It’s something we are really looking forward to.

“That’s a tough place to get a win. Our guys are looking forward to it.”

WC players, especially those who played for Smith, are equally as excited.

“He was a good coach to play for, but now I want to pay him back,” Jones said. “We want to blow them out, from start to finish.”

Neshoba Central will tip off the boys game at 5:30 p.m. The Rockets are led by senior forward Calvin Parker, who averages a team-best 17 points per game. Junior point guard Eric Truss averages about 13 points per game.

“We really didn’t play well the first time,” Harper said of the Vikings’ loss earlier in the year to Neshoba. “I think we know them a little better. It will be a little weird to go against him again, but I enjoy it.”

The RCB will be more than just basketball, however. The team will leave Philadelphia around 10 a.m., eat a meal at Rowdy’s, then go to Riverfront Park.

“A lot of my guys have never seen the river before,” Smith said. “We plan on coming over and making a day out of it. It should be a lot of fun.”

Smith won’t be the only former Warren County coach returning for the RCB. The Lady Rockets, led by ex-St. Aloysius coach Noah Hamilton, will play Warren Central’s girls at 4 p.m.

Hamilton was forced out as Flashes’ coach, then went to Newellton, La., and left a lasting impression on WC coach Donny Fuller for failing to show up with his team for the Warren Central Invitational.

“It’s going to be a battle,” Fuller said.

“We had to come from behind against them the first time.”