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Charles Henderson finishes up summer practice

Basketball’s regular season won’t start for another five months, but that didn’t stop the Charles Henderson Trojans preparations this summer.

The Trojans, fresh off a playoff run a season ago, participated in summer workouts where they competed in multiple games in preparation for the upcoming season.

“This summer we were working on skill development,” said head coach Doug Branson. “We are trying to improve our guys’ skill levels. As each individual’s skills increase, the whole team will increase. The guys got work in.”

Following their postseason run a season ago, the Trojans said goodbye to all but two regular players off the roster. Devin Parker and Keith Wheeler both played a lot of minutes a season, but the rest of the team is seeing key varsity minutes for the first time.

“We’ll be infused with youth,” Branson said. “The rest of the them will basically be juniors and sophomores that didn’t get a lot of playing time with varsity.”

Following last season, Branson hoped the team would carry that momentum into the offseason. Even though the majority of the team is new to varsity, Branson feels the program is still benefiting from last season.

“As a program we now know what the expectations are,” Branson said. “They see what we do and what we are capable of; that in itself brings a level of confidence. It’s like any program, once we get things where we want it to be, the people that come into the program have seen how it’s done and they are a part of it. They want to strive to that level or higher.”

Branson is entering his second year with the program and he is already seeing differences between the first two years.

“Each group creates new challenges for a coach,” Branson said. “This year, my job will be implementing or tweaking our system to best fit our personnel that we have. I don’t think we can do the same things this upcoming year that we were able to do last year because of our personnel. My job will be to evaluate, work and see, making sure that I give these young men the best opportunity to find success.”

Organized team activities are now over for Charles Henderson, but Branson is entrusting his players to get better individually leading up to the start of the regular season.

“We need to be able to shoot the ball better than we do as a program,” Branson said. “We are athletic. We got young men that can run and job. We need to develop our shooting skills. We need to improve on how we defend, where we defend and when we defend. If we can increase those levels all across the board, then our whole program will improve.”