The Mount Vernon-Enola boys basketball team lost two really good seniors and a great role-player from last year, head coach Joshua Zarlingo said. This year’s team has seven seniors, and four of them got a lot of minutes last season, he said.
“I think we will be in the hunt at the end of the year if we do the fundamental things, like rebound the ball, limit turnovers and are healthy at the end of the year,” said Zarlingo, who is in his fourth year at Mount Vernon-Enola.
Seniors Wesley Booker, Carter Smothers and Adam Felton all got significant playing time last year. Booker has received offers from Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, Lyon College in Batesville and Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia. Zarlingo said Booker is a floor general with an IQ to go with his athleticism.
The coach said Booker has worked on his outside shot and is currently shooting 62 percent from the long range.
Zarlingo said Smothers is the team’s best shooter, going 6 of 7 from the 3-point line against Dermott. Smothers shot 40 percent from the 3-point range, and Felton shot 39 percent from the 3-point line last season.
Zarlingo said he believes the seven seniors know and understand how the culture works at Mount Vernon-Enola.
“They know and understand how to bring the younger guys up,” Zarlingo said. “With that being said, leadership and culture are our strengths.”
He said senior JB Shaw has really been a surprise of the year, so far, with his ability to rebound and defend. And sophomore Kyler Chapman is still developing his game, the coach said.
“Currently, he is more of a flasher, get-to-the-basket-type of guy, but we are working on his shot,” Zarlingo said. “He is an elite-level defender.
“He is a sophomore but has to battle Wes every day in practice. [Kyler] has the tools to play at the next level.”
Zarlingo said senior Nick Herring is a tough, strong and quick young man “who will go toe to toe with any challenge that is put in front of him.”
The coach said Wonderview will be the team to beat this season, “so that will be a fun couple of games to watch.”
“Out of conference, [Greers Ferry] West Side was a really fun game for the fans to watch because they returned everyone off a really good team,” Zarlingo said. “Izard County has been in the Class 1A state-championship game the past three years, and Stuttgart is a young group of up-and-comers with a lot of talent.
“They will also be must-see games.”
Zarlingo said Izard County, Wonderview and West Side are Class 1A schools that “are really good and seasoned teams with great coaching staffs.”
“With a mix of the seniors and a couple of underclassmen, I think we can compete with anyone this year at the Class 1A level,” Zarlingo said.