- Last Updated on 12:22 PM 04/23/12
- BY Joe Chandler
Deshon Dabbs was understandably frustrated last season. Dabbs, one of the starting guards on the Halifax County High School basketball team, sustained an ankle injury early in the season – an injury that sidelined him for several games and continued to be bothersome after he returned to the lineup late in the season.
The injury quickly curtailed what he and Comets head coach Lynn Ramage thought would be a breakout season for the player who was a Second Team all-district pick as a sophomore.
“It was pretty frustrating,” Dabbs remarked.
“I wanted to be out there. I wanted to try to help the team, but I couldn’t.”
“He hurt his ankle and never got over it,” Ramage added.
“The high ankle sprain affected his ability to do what he does best – slash, create, jump above the rim and things of that nature. It took away the athleticism that he counts on. When that was taken away, his confidence level went down.”
Dabbs’ confidence has returned. So has his strength, his shooting ability, and his ability to create and make plays.
Now hitting on all cylinders, Dabbs, who was ranked number 162 in the country on the ESPN men’s high school basketball recruiting website at the end of November, returns for the 2009-2010 season as a leader of the Comets basketball team.
“We talk about a car,” Ramage explained.
“A car has different parts. There’s a steering wheel. You can’t drive (a car) without a steering wheel. There are the wheels and, the thing that makes that car go is the engine. Deshon is one of our engines. He’s the main engine. He’s the guy that we’re going to go to this year.”
That puts a lot of responsibility on Dabbs’s shoulders, and he has accepted it.
“I’m proud to have it,” Dabbs said.
“I try to set a good example for my teammates because they look up to me. My role is to be more of a leader and more of a vocal leader. Physically, I’m a leader, but vocally, I need to be more of a leader.
“It’s tough,” Dabbs added.
“I’m too nice. I’m more of a friend than a leader. But, sometimes you have to get tough.”
Dabbs and teammates Robert Jackson and Kejuan Mayo are the captains of this season’s Comets basketball team. Ramage says the players have chosen three good leaders.
“They (the other players) follow him (Dabbs) and several others. I really believe the three captains that they picked this year are awesome. Everyone they picked has an influence on this team and how the players act and what they do. We have three good leaders.”
Dabbs says he has a lot of faith in his teammates and sees a good season ahead for the Comets.
“I feed off of them as much as they feed off of me,” Dabbs pointed out.
“I feel we can go all the way to the state. The team we have right now is very good. Several of us have been together for several years. This year, I think we can make it happen.”
Ramage Confident Of A Good Season
Ramage has a great deal of confidence in this season’s team as well. With a host of returning players around which to build, the Comets coach says this will be a better season than last year.
“I like this team, “ Ramage pointed out.
“We’re going to be better than we were last year. You’re going to see a much better team and I think people will enjoy watching them play.”
This year’s Comets basketball team does not have a great deal of size. It does, however, have a great deal of speed and quickness.
“This team is built for speed,” said Ramage.
“We’re going to try to be stronger, fundamentally sound and run as fast as we can. Controlled mayhem is what we’re trying to do.”
Ramage says the players need to focus on the fundamentals – the small details – to be successful.
“We’ve got to do the little things,” he said.
“We’ve got to be fundamentally sound. We’ve got to learn how to play defense and how to play help team defense. The big question will be can we play good team defense and limit second shots.”
Ramage said the team’s lack of size is not expected to be a major hindrance.
“It (the size the team has) gives us different combinations (of players) in different areas,” he noted.
“If you box out, rebound and defend, you can make up for it. Your quickness can be your advantage if you know how to do certain things. We’ve been doing certain things that I think are going to help us.”
Another key, Ramage said, is that the players understand what their respective roles are and embrace them.
“Everyone understands what they have to do,” he said.
“We’ve discussed what their role is. There is no confusion.”
Ramage said he is keeping things as simple as possible with his players.
“We’re asking the guys to do four things this year,” he explained.
“The first is defend as hard as you can. The second is rebound and box out, run the floor and last, but not least, the most important thing – share the basketball. I’ve told them that if they’re coming out of the game, it’s because they’re not doing one of those four things.”
Tonight’s Home Season Opener
The Comets open their season here tonight against Person High School. Ramage said he expects another typical tough game against the team’s nearby rival.
“Person High School is a good team,” Ramage said.
“I saw them play their first game. They may have a little advantage in that this will be their third game of the season while this will be our first game of the season. I’m looking forward to it. I’ve told our seniors that this is their last home opener and let’s make it something to remember. “
The Comets will have a busy weekend. After facing Person High School tonight, the Comets will go on the road tomorrow night to face Morehead High School of Eden, N.C.. Saturday’s game will be the first of three Saturday games on the Comets’ schedule.