TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY
By Les Dixon For the Times-Tribune
LYNN CAMP — The Lynn Camp Wildcats are coming off their first winning season in four years, and they'll look to improve on their 16-win total from 2013 with new coach Eric Swords taking over at the helm.
Swords is looking to reintroduce an up-tempo style of play that made the Wildcats one of the more entertaining teams to watch under former coach Anthony Pennington.
“Our tempo is a much faster pace, which I think will benefit us greatly,” Swords said “The kids have adapted great. I think at first things were a little difficult for them to process, but they are going all out at trying to do things the way we want them.
“The biggest key will be our effort and pressure on defense,” he added. “I feel if we come with the right intensity on that end every day in practice or in games that we will be tough to beat. I think our older guys will carry us on offense early in the year, and I’m hoping that will give the younger guys a chance to get more comfortable in varsity action.”
Swords will be fielding a young team, but will return starters Justin Hammonds and Skylar McFarland.
“Hammonds is a really fast guard who can get to the rim and also a good shooter from three,” Swords said. “I think he will have a big year in our up-tempo system. He’s a guy that keeps coming at you full speed for 32 minutes on both ends — I call him our Russ Smith. McFarland will start on the wing, in my opinion he’s the most underrated player in the region. He’s a great shooter but can also score in a variety of ways. I’m not sure the rest of the region knows how good this kid is.
“Having a young team there’s going to be more ups and downs throughout the year than there would be if we were more experienced,” he added. “I think sometimes as a coach you expect them to already know things, or pick up on things quicker than they do.”
If his Wildcats continue to improve, Swords believes his team can surprise.
“I feel like if we play with effort and together then we can beat anybody in the region, if we don’t, then I think anybody in the region can beat us,” he said. “That’s something we have really tried to make the guys understand.”