BASKETBALL PREVIEWS ’21-22: Flying the Coop- Season after reaching State, Rebels face a thin roster with Byrd taking on challenge

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Tyler Byrd


By Thomas Sellers Jr.

You won’t find too many who will argue the past four years of Tipton-Rosemark Academy Basketball has been the Golden Era. 

Under the guidance of Head Coach Cedric Anderson, the Rebels have won multiple Regional championships, reached the State Tournament site twice, finished runner-up in State and sent players to the college level. 

One of those players is the all-time leading scorer in program history and former Mr. Basketball finalist Alex Anderson. Expecting to build off that positive momentum, these days the roster of the Rebels looks scarce. 

“Things haven’t changed in regards to our expectations,” Coach Anderson said. “We’re disappointed in our numbers. This did catch us by surprise. We had four kids, two starters who played a lot of minutes the last two years, they would have been juniors this year. We put a lot of time into preparing those young men to play major minutes and major roles this year. They decided not to play basketball this year. So that put us in a difficult situation.”

Although the roster is slimmer than in years past, Anderson said his core will make the Rebels competitive in 2021-22. Players like Alexander Blue and Thano Sinis will join forces with fellow standout senior Tyler Byrd. 

“Now Tyler Byrd has to do more of doing a leader like Alex (Anderson) did the past couple of years,” Anderson said. “Alex Blue and Thano Sinis have to do a better job of being leaders. And I think they can do it.”

Prior to the basketball season, Byrd was a key player on the TRA Football team. Anderson noted his Division I caliber guard wanted to embrace the Rosemark environment and contribute to his school beyond the hardwood. 

“Even looking at him at football and the maturity he showed on the football field,” he noted. “He showed leadership on the football field. I just think he’s ready to take it on.”

Anderson said the physicality of Blue will be needed to battle bigger teams in Division II-A. 

“The surprise player is going to be Alexander Blue,” he said. “He’s a leader and he’s going to have to make some big plays for us. And I think he’s capable and he will.”

Along with Sinis, Blue and Byrd have been staying positive despite the low numbers in the gym. The trio have been running practices with the younger Rebels to sharpen their leadership skills. 

“The younger kids from the previous years had leadership in front of them,” Anderson noted. “These guys are coming out early and doing extra practices to make sure they learn what we’re doing, how we do things and learn the expectations. 

“That’s going to put us ahead down the road,” he added. “We’re going to be in great shape with three freshmen and three eighth graders who will benefit from this situation we’re in right now. In a couple of years we’ll be right back where we were in the past couple of years.”

But the 2021-22 season still has to be played. And Anderson said he won’t cheat his seniors by mailing in the season. He will be motivated to give them a memorable sendoff and created a high-level recruiting environment for Byrd. 

The leader of the Rebels is still hopeful that as the season progresses, more experienced players will return to the fold. 

“I’ve talked to the team,” Anderson concluded. “And one thing about teammates they are forgiving. I hope they do come back. It’s not about basketball. It’s about the name on the front of the jersey and you want to have the best representation possible with everything Rosemark is representing. Whether it is the chorus, football field or academics you want to be the best you can be. And the best representation possible.” 

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