Chuck’s Corner by Chuck Livingston
Welcome to the first hoops Power Poll of the 2015-2016 season. I wanted to get into the season a little bit before I released my first poll because there are so many things that can happen on a random night in basketball. On the other side of the page is the first girls Power Poll, so don’t miss that. On with the poll. 1.) Earle Bulldogs (8-1 overall, 3-0 district) Key wins: West Memphis (59-40), Buffalo Island Central (73-59) Key loss: Wynne We knew that Earle was going to be a player for this year’s Class 2A title, but they may be even stronger than we thought. The Bulldogs haven’t even had their full team together and has already dropped the Blue Devils in a route at the Marion Classic and went on the road to Monette to stomp out 2015 Class 2A semifinalist B.I.C. The last time I saw the Bulldogs, they slammed Central High from Helena, but they settled for too many three-point shots. If they keep playing Billy Murray’s aggressive style of defense and attack the basket more than they settle for jumpers then this is a team that could go as far as they want. 2.) West Memphis Blue Devils (5-4 overall) Best wins: Wynne, Jacksonville Worst loss: Earle, Jacksonville The Earle loss was confusing at the time, but it’s had a transformative experience on this West Memphis team. Entering that game at Patriot Arena, the Blue Devils were 0-2 and looked as though they’d be going through one of the worst seasons in school history. Instead, a late night practice after the Earle game spawned 5 wins in 6 outings and a hungry squad who’s trending upwards. I still think West Memphis lacks a post player, though Gary Ward has been solid to date. 3.) West Memphis Christian Black Knights (10-2 overall) West Memphis Christian has picked up right where it left off last year. The Black Knights dropped 3 games to Marshall Academy in 2014-2015, but the Patriots are a powerhouse in that league. Against everyone else, West Memphis Christian was more than competitive. 4.) Marion Patriots (3-5 overall) Key win: Conway, Blytheville Key losses: Parkview, Pine Bluff At this point, Marion has probably won the games that they should and lost the ones that they should. Marion is in the process of trimming its rotation back, and that should help the team out a bit. Against Pine Bluff, 16 different Marion players saw action at one point or another. Above all else, a second ball-handler would have a smoothing influence on the team for when senior Treyvon Jackson has to sit. Everything else should fall into place.