No surprise at Bearcats' start

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What else would you expect from a Drury-coached team?

By John Herndon

This time, the answer seemed to surprise the questioner.

As we concluded an interview in the locker room at Lexington’s Sayre High School, Glen Drury turned the tables on the only local media member around.

“Does it surprise you that we are .500 right now?” Drury asked.
“Nope,” I replied. “Not at all.”

Drury has won over 400 games and has seen a ton of the unexpected on the basketball court, but he seemed genuinely surprised that one who has seen probably more games he has coached, outside of his family and trusted friends Jimmy Young and Wayne Wilder, would make that statement.

But the fact that Anderson has been a bit of a pleasant surprise at 5-5 speaks first of the expectations for the Anderson County boys’ basketball team when they opened the season on Nov. 30 at Casey County.

One starter, Erik Newton, returned. Ethan Kelly, who saw significant playing time last season, suffered a knee injury in football, underwent surgery and was lost for the season.

The rest of the team was a group of unproven, undersized kids. There was talk around Anderson County, that this was a team that might struggle to win more than five games.

Uh, check that record again. It reads 5-5 and includes a win over traditional Florida power Miami Senior.

Surprised at 5-5? Not when Glen Drury is occupying the seat at the head of the Anderson bench. No one, nowhere, works harder at trying to put his team in a position to be successful than Drury.

But Drury will also be the first to tell you that success is still because of the players. He can show them what to do. He can tell them what to do.

Ultimately, however, no coach can shoot a free throw or grab a rebound. And the fact that Anderson heads into the 2011 portion of its schedule at 5-5 is a testament to a group of young men who have bought into what Drury and his staff are teaching and have worked relentlessly to get better.

Add to that the fact that those same whispers about this being a season when Anderson is not the usual Anderson – think an average of 17 wins during Drury’s tenure – providing the fuel to prove the skeptics wrong and the Bearcats could end up having a season to do just that.

No one is predicting a regional, or even a district, championship. Anderson is still undersized, unproven and inexperienced. Those growing pains showed when the Bearcats pretty much needed only to get the ball inbounds with 14.5 seconds to play against Harlan County on Thursday night.

They didn’t do it.

It is a team that has very little margin for error and must compete at the highest level every time the ball is tipped off. But it is also a team worthy of keeping your eye on.

Before the season, I picked Anderson seventh in the Eighth Region, which was just a hair higher than most. But I also wrote that it would be foolish for anyone to overlook one of Glen Drury’s teams.

There is a long season ahead, but so far, the Bearcats are proving me right.