But for Griffin coach Calvin Sinkfield, the strides the young team has made from the start of the season impress the coach the most.
Heading into the 2007-08 season, Griffin returned just two players from last year’s Elite 8 squad — Tank Sessions and Oscar Moore. The Bears also fielded a team without any seniors and relied on juniors and sophomores who played on junior varsity teams the year before.
Sinkfield said the individual and team honors his players have accomplished this season show the type of young leaders present on the team.
He said 14 players from the varsity, junior varsity and ninth grade teams were honored during Griffin High’s honor assembly on Jan. 17.
“I’m very happy for them because they’re doing it at such a young stage,” Sinkfield said.
While the coach was surprised at the number of players who were honored for their academic success, he said he has come to expect that type of achievement from his team.
Sinkfield said the team has grown on the court from the beginning of the season that featured a three-game losing streak and a 37-point loss at home.
The Bears have won five of their last seven games, and Sinkfield said he believes his team is in a good position to make some noise come the region tournament.
“We have been showing signs of growth and maturity week-by-week,” he said.
The Bears are also being recognized for their individual success on the court. Sinkfield said junior Shaq Barber, who played on the junior varsity squad last season, will be video taped this afternoon during practice in hopes of being selected for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s high school slam dunk contest.
While Sinkfield is proud of Barber’s nomination to the slam dunk contest, he is more eager to see what his team can do in the postseason.
“I believe they know they can play,” Sinkfield said, “and I believe they can do some good things.”