Coming off a 13-11 rebuilding season, there is a lot of excitement around the idea that Snider could again be a top contender in the SAC now that last year’s mostly inexperienced group has many more minutes under the belts.
Karson Jenkins is one that has been a constant for this program and is kind of the tie that binds the Sectional champions of 2020 to this younger group. He has seen his role change often and knows how to. adjust to it. That will make him an important leader for this group but also as the guy that drives them. Jenkins, who was an All-Area player last season, averaged 20.8 points and 3.5 assists per game. He will often see lead guard duties as coach Jeremy Rauch clearly respects his decision making.
Next to Jenkins, Aidan Lambert returns as another dynamic scorer and one of the biggest breakout players early last season. Lambert averaged 14.5 points and 4.9. rebounds per game in 2020-2021.
Two other senior guards, Grant Brown and Elijah Davis, also return. The pair bring some of the same dynamics as each other as they can both shoot the ball well and both are gritty players that Snider will rely on to help rebound with their lack of height. Brown is the more consistent shooter of the two and Rauch is really going to want him to be a driving force in helping to spread out the defense. Brown, Davis and Lambert all played together part of this past summer as well which had to have help strengthen their comfort with each other.
“We think we can be pretty good this year if we stay healthy, humble, and hungry,” Rauch said. “Led by two senior guards in Aidan Lambert and Karson Jenkins, we should be pretty dynamic offensively. Without a lot of size, our success will largely be determined by our commitment to team defense and the defensive glass.”
Right now, Snider doesn’t have a lot of depth but that is something that has always fluctuated with the Panthers through the years as younger guys have a history of showing they can step up even if they weren’t expected to do so early in the season.
Behind the four seniors, junior Ke’Drell Billingsley and sophomore Keron Billingsley both return with some varsity experience. Standout Snider running back Tyrese Brown is back with the program and is a good athlete to add. Jordan Lee and Xavier Gray are also expected to see some time.
Of note, all of the players that Rauch sees leading the group at this point in the preseason are listed as guards despite the fact that none of the players lost from last season were forwards. It will make Snider needing to be creative rebounding the ball.
Last season, not much was expected out of Snider with all they had lost to the 2020 graduation. Well, they made a lot of people eat their words and thoughts a lot of times.
So we aren’t here to underestimate them this time with two of the best athletic scorers in the area on their roster. Jenkins and Lambert are two of our top 11 players in our own preseason rankings and if there was nothing else to their lineup, that would be impressive. But there is something else to it so here they sit at #2.
WHY NOT HIGHER?
Protecting against letdown? The last time Snider was our preseason number one, they struggled to live up to the hype. Finding a balance between that why we have them #2, this seems like a great place to start. If they want to be higher, they just need to be consistent.
Snider has a challenging early season and a significant gap around Christmas that they have to work with. Could they come out of 2021 with a high winning percentage?
We also want to see what kind of depth that the Panthers may or may not have after losing a couple of their. best players from last season, one to graduation and two to transfer.
January 14 at Homestead
If you’ve watched games in the area over the past several years you know that Snider against Homestead rarely disappoints.
Buzzer beaters, upsets or even dominating individual or team performances, there is always something noteworthy and exciting going on when these two teams meet.
Why more so this year that last? Because Snider is very good. And Homestead is very good. It is way to early to call this one being for the SAC title. But, this one certainly will have title implications and the possibility that they will play again in the postseason is high. That said, no matter what there will be momentum to earn in this one.
Elijah Davis, senior
Davis has shown flashes of being a really good shooter. And while we know his defense and his toughness isn’t in question, the consistency in his shooting could be make or break for Snider in several instances.
There will be a lot of things that Snider can take from Davis’ on court leadership potential and effort but if he can hit consistently, there is a feeling that it will get this team pumped up.
Davis really gets after it and he could have a breakout year on both ends of the court.