The Valdosta High School boys basketball team still has some time until their season kicks off with a scrimmage against Houston County – followed by their inaugural Titletown Tip-Off Classic Tournament that will see Valdosta host the best of the best basketball talent in Georgia on Nov. 18 – but head coach James Lee wouldn’t mind one bit if the season started today. After listening to Lee describe the talented team that will take the floor this year, you can understand the excitement from the ‘Cats boys head hoops coach.
“We have a lot of guys that can really create for themselves and for others too,” Lee said. “Our offense can really shoot it well and can work well with the pick-n-roll. Our offense is going to be very versatile this year, and that will be a transition from the style of team we have had the last two seasons, when we were a defensive juggernaut.”
Lee said that his depth should provide the ‘Cats with an advantage, especially as the season turns from the traditional, non-region holiday schedule into region play.
“We plan to play 10-11 guys every night, and every one of them can contribute,” Lee said.
Among the returning starters from last year will be Region 1-7A Defensive Player of the Year Israel “Izzy” Jenrette.
“Israel led Georgia Class 7A in blocks last year with an average of 3.6 blocks per game and is blossoming into one of the best big men in the state,” Lee said of the 6-foot-10 senior.
According to Lee, Jenrette already has several Division I offers and will certainly be entertaining even more this season.
The floor leader for Valdosta will be junior PG Jabari Williams. A First Team All-Region selection last season, Williams was also named Newcomer of the Year in Region 1-7A as a freshman. Lee called Williams “one of the best point guards in the state.”
Guard Eric Love will be returning, and Lee said the sophomore is expected to make an impact with Valdosta this season.
“Prep Hoops has Eric ranked as one of the top sophomores in the state heading into the 2023-2024 season, and I feel like he’s gonna have a huge year for us,” Lee said.
Grant Jackson is a 6-foot-6 PF who Lee said is beginning to master all three key areas on the court.
“Grant shoots the 3 and rebounds really well and has become a very versatile defender,” Lee said.
Thomas University and Albany State have each shown quite a bit of interest in the senior.
David Albritton had an especially productive offseason, and Lee said he hopes that the 6-foot-4 combo guard takes that momentum gained this summer into his senior year.
“David led us in scoring this summer [in the SOWEGA Summer League], and I am looking for him to continue that this season,” Lee said.
Daylin Dixon is a former Wildcat who is coming home for his senior season. The SG left Valdosta following his freshman season and has attended Brookwood High School the past two seasons, but Lee said Dixon moved back with his family to Valdosta this summer.
“We are definitely happy to have him come back home for his senior season,” Lee said. “He’ll fit in nicely with our team.”
Rounding out the core of the ‘Cats lineup is senior guard Chase Holmes.
“Chase is a really smart guard who will give us some good minutes this season,” Lee said.
“Those are our top guys, but we have a lot of guys that will see the court this year. I am excited to get things started.”
Lee will be leading the Wildcats basketball program for the second straight season after taking over last season. He is in his 11th season as a basketball coach and joined the Valdosta basketball staff in 2018. He served as an assistant under former head coach Darrell Lockhardt for a season before taking over the team last season. Lee led the ‘Cats into the state playoffs as the No. 2 seed from Region 1-7A, taking them to the Class 7A Sweet 16, where they fell to Grayson.
ITG Next wishes Lee and the entire Valdosta boys basketball team the best during their upcoming season.