Gators spread scoring wealth

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 6, 2008

Returning sophomore sensation Mychal Ammons says the Vicksburg boys basketball team will be able to share the wealth this season.

For the past two seasons, the Gators were propelled by the talents of all-state and two-time Vicksburg Post Player of the Year guard Jonathan Phelps. Phelps, who averaged 23.8 points per game before suffering a knee injury in the Class 4A North State finals, is now a freshman at Okaloosa Walton Community College (Fla.). The Gators struggled without Phelps in the 4A State Tournament, falling to Moss Point, but Ammons doesn’t feel they will struggle without him this time.

“We’re playing together more. Phelps didn’t let us do too much,” said Ammons, a 6-foot-6 forward who started all 37 games last year at center for the Gators, who finished 27-8 and won the Division 3-4A regular season title after starting 0-2.

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“I believe we have a team that can go all the way. We’ve been doing a lot of running and we’ll be in shape,” Ammons said. Last year he averaged 9.8 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. The scoring numbers should go up as Ammons heads to a more natural forward spot.

The big question remaining for veteran coach Dellie C. Robinson is at point guard. Phelps did much of the work there and when he moved over to the No. 2 guard, Delmon Robinson, Dellie’s son, stepped in. Delmon is now a freshman wide receiver on the Mississipi State football team.

“Point guard is still wide open,” Robinson said. “We’re still waiting for someone to take control of it. Right now, we’ll just play a few games and then reevaluate it at that point.”

That means the Vicksburg-Warren Classic will serve as a key audition for junior Roosevelt Harris and senior Darius Williams. The Gators open the season at home against Port Gibson tonight at 8:30.

“We’re pretty well set in the frontcourt with Mike, Denzell (Erves), Maurice (Williams) and Kelsey (Howard). Point guard is not settled. Maurice and Roosevelt may alternate at it and then we’ll also have Darius Williams, who could win it because he plays the best defense of the three,” Robinson said.

Opening things up for Ammons and Erves will be Howard, whose insertion into the starting lineup last year, fueled a 14-game winning streak after a 7-5 start. Howard finished as the team’s top 3-point threat and was named all-county.

The Gators are once again in arguably the state’s best 4A division with the likes of eight-time state champ Lanier, a Callaway squad that beat Vicksburg in the divisional finals and Ridgeland, who made it to the 4A semifinals despite falling to the Gators three times last season.


Contact Jeff Byrd at