Paintsville loses a few key players, but still has a deep talent pool to choose from.
It’s been the Colby Fugate show in Paintsville for the past few years, so this year, Coach Landon Slone will have his work cut out for him replacing his leading scorer from the last few seasons.
The Tigers also lost Braxton Tharp and Baron Ratliff to graduation.
We won’t know until the season opener against Prestonsburg how things will look for the Tigers, but there’s plenty of returning talent that should be stepping up into bigger roles this season.
Connor Fugate – Fugate is the younger brother of Colby Fugate, and is a stellar athlete in his own right. He’s already signed with the University of Kentucky to play baseball, but on the hardwood Fugate is as good as anyone.
He was second to only his brother in scoring last season, with 403 total points. He was also the leading rebounder for the Tigers. Look for Fugate to continue what he’s known for, scoring a lot and pulling down boards.
Jase Kinner – Kinner started last season as a freshman and his impact was immediately felt. On offense last season Kinner was solid with 130 points, trailing only the three seniors and Fugate. It’s safe to say his production should pick up quite a bit, especially with another year under his belt as he enters his sophomore season.
AJ James – James is another player who saw playing time last year that will help lead the team this year. James was stellar on defense last season, playing with a lot of aggression. He averaged 4.8 points per game and 3.0 rebounds per game in his first season back last year.
The Tigers have three juniors, Ethan Ward, Bryce McDonald and Carson Holbrook. All three had limited playing time last year, but bring back valuable experience to help the Tigers.
Brock Woods – Woods is young, but had six rebounds and nine points in just six games last year as a seventh-grader. The 6 foot 6 eighth-grader returns this year and adds some much needed size for the Tigers.
Overall, Coach Slone and the Tigers should be fine. They have a great mix of returning talent and young upcoming players with a lot of promise.
Written by Mike Muncy Sports Writer