July 24, 2010
Coach James Lunsford looking to bring excitement, high energy game to GMC
MILLEDGEVILLE — There’s a new sheriff in town for the GMC Prep boys basketball team, and the man is quite a big name in these parts.
Having established deep roots with current and former NBA players and national coaches, new head coach James Lunsford is bringing a virtual encyclopedia of basketball knowledge to a Bulldog team desperately in need of a boost.
Lunsford carries a banner coaching career in which he led Baldwin High and Twiggs County to championship titles and great heights and will now look to do the same at GMC Prep, a school with a very strong academic brand and with a campus and faculty that can rival any in the nation.
“That’s one thing we intend to do. It’s a very exciting time here at GMC. We are hoping to develop a basketball program,” said Lunsford. “That’s very important. I know a lot about GMC from playing them at Twiggs County.”
So far, Lunsford likes what he sees from the Bulldogs, especially with the core returning players.
“We have 14 kids that will be instrumental on the varsity. We’ll have a B-team and Middle School. I’ve been impressed with all the young people. A lot of them play football and baseball and have been going to three practices daily,” said Lunsford. “We are having good practices four days a week. We’ve had different teams to come in for scrimmages, and we’ve done lot of fundamental work.”
Lunsford also has big plans to send GMC Prep players to future national and regional camps but felt the team needed to work on strict fundamentals and basics this summer.
“Passing and dribbling are very important. We went in as a staff and worked with them fundamentally, and I think that will help us in the long run,” said Lunsford. “The kids that aren’t playing the other sports, we’ll be working with them individually on 1-on-1 drills.”
Lunsford said he already sees some bright spots on the Bulldogs roster and pointed out two players that could be “difference-makers” in 2010.
“No doubt about it, senior Joseph McAllister is one of the best players I’ve worked with. He’s a tremendous athlete. I think he is going to be a tremendous basketball player. He has been doing three or four things all summer,” said Lunsford. “We also have Ben Crawley, who has done a good job for us. Treven King and Dustin Archebelle also came in and have done well. Nolan Baugh is also an outstanding basketball player, and T.J. Clark’s dad played for me at Baldwin and I’m looking for big things from him. They’ve done a great job.”
GMC’s new coach also said there is a possibility that more players could join the basketball team before the season is over.
“I’m thinking we’ll have some new players come in. There are a lot of unknowns. Looking at the roster, we are returning 10 guys. A majority of our kids will be young kids. We’ll probably have four or five ninth graders on the varsity. This year is about building our future,” he said.
Lunsford also pointed out that he’s proud to have two fantastic assistants in Shawn Dennis and Quinton Matthews, who played at GCSU, on his staff.
“We may bring in some community coaches. The staff is great and they have been working late every day,” he said.
Overall, Lunsford said his new job is a work in progress and said they will have to work extremely hard to accomplish all of their team goals.
“We are going to be doing some new things at GMC. We have some outstanding young people and want to know what their strengths are,” he said. “They are well-rounded kids. We are looking for a season with a lot of intensity and are looking to have a winning record, and also hope to make the playoffs. I didn’t come to GMC to retire, I came here to build a program. And I’m as excited about that than I’ve been about anything in a long time. We are going to have a crowd.”