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Michigan Center Head Coach Travis Gaddy

By Mike Moore                           (File Photo: Ryan Kerwin, JTV Sports)

Staff Writer


Michigan Center — Travis Gaddy had to hit the reset button, a reality he had to face following last year’s impressive run to 23 wins in 24 games.


But, after that 23-1 finish, the team graduated almost everyone on the roster, including four of the five starters.


So, with a new year and a roster needing to come into its own, the simple and understandable expectation was for the Cardinals to need some time to figure things out.


That’s been the case, but with a pretty cool caveat.


They’ve done it while winning.


“I knew after the summer we had some good players here,” Gaddy said. “But I also knew if was going to take some time for guys to figure things out and adjust to what they had to do.”


The Cardinals did it quickly, and heading into tonight’s tilt against Hanover-Horton, 5-0 on the season.


“We’ve shot the ball very well,” Gaddy said. “And the defense is starting to catch up. We had guys that needed to adjust and understand what they need to do, and guys are doing it.”


Even with just one starter back, there were some players who saw some time a year ago who are flourishing now.


Senior Jake Nichols, the lone starter back, is pacing the team, averaging 17.6 points per game to go with four rebounds and 2.6 assists.


Jaleel Brown has made the most of his first five varsity games, as the sophomore is the second-leading scorer on the team with 11.8 points and three assists per game.


Rayfield Johnson (9.8 points and 6.4 rebounds), Abel Compton (seven points, 4.8 rebounds) and Bryan Williams (seven points, four rebounds) are also playing with extreme consistency so far.


“It’s what we like to do,” Gaddy said of getting scoring from all angles. “It’s the way our offense runs. If we run the offense the proper way, we have interchangeable parts, and we have guys that can step up and score and rebound.”


As for the 5-0 start?


“I saw some things this summer that gave me confidence,” Gaddy said. “At the same time, we had games at the start where we led by 15, but we’d let teams back in the game. So we’ve needed that defense to come along. I knew we’d be good, but maybe I didn’t think we’d be playing this well this fast.”


Gaddy said the team’s confidence continues to grow and strengthen on a daily basis.


And from here on out?


“Our goals have to start with getting to 6-0,” Gaddy said. “Our schedule has been very sporadic so far, where we played four games before break, and have only had a one here and there since. There’s not a lot of time for practice the rest of the way. So, moving forward, it’s a focus on opponents and what they want to do and what we have to do.”


The Cardinals next test is tonight against rival Hanover-Horton (4-2).  That game can be seen on JTV this weekend. 


Mike Moore is a play-by-play commentator and Sports Writer for JTV Sports.


He’s also a Realtor with Real Estate One, specializing with buyers and sellers throughout Michigan, from the Jackson area to metro Detroit. You can reach him at mmoore@realestateone.com or by calling (313) 770-6365 with any inquiries.

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