David W. Healy
It is Wednesday afternoon and the Honeybees are practicing hard. Wearing a black ski cap to match his all black coaching outfit, Greenville High School head basketball coach Dakedreon Lampkin is giving instructions to his players. It is a simple drill of passing the ball to the open girl, but Coach Lampkin wants to make sure his players get it exactly right. So, the players go over the play again. Sweat pours down their foreheads. They bend down to catch their breaths.
“One more time,” Coach Lampkin says loudly. “Let’s go.”
The players make it back to their spots and get back to work. This time they do the drill to perfection, and Lampkin claps encouragingly.
“That’s what I am talking about.”
It is just another day of practice for the Honeybees, and this is just another drill they have done a thousand times before, day after day.
But, it is this work ethic and this attention to detail which has turned the Honeybees into what they have become — one of the best basketball programs in the state of Mississippi.
The Honeybees begin their season Oct. 31 at home against Greenwood.
The players and coaches on this year’s squad are out to prove that last year’s remarkable season, which saw Greenville win its first 31 games, was not a fluke but the first of many incredible seasons.
The players and coaches say they are not going to compare this year’s team to last year’s. That would not be fair, of course, given that Clarkaju Warren and Mary Starnes, two of the best players ever to put on a Honeybee uniform, have now graduated.
However, the Honeybees still have high expectations. Coach Lampkin still has players who can play.
Leading the way this season will be Jeannee Anderson who last season was one third of the dynamic triple threat of herself, Warren and Starnes. Anderson averaged 14.4 points a game last year and is now looking to take even more leadership duties this season.
“Even though Clarkaju and Mary are gone this season what they taught me about basketball and being a leader is still here,” Anderson said. “They made it easy for me, and they taught me about what it meant to be a good teammate. I plan on being the same type of leadership this season for my teammates.”
Along with Anderson, Kayla Williams and Lazericka Rhodes are back to bring much needed experience to the Honeybee backcourt.
Inside the paint, Greenville will be led by a number of strong players including Aaliyah Parker, Kylian Granger and Quintaria McCray.
“This team is still a work in progress, and we know the bar is raised high,” Coach Lampkin said. “But, like last year the goal is still the same. Every time we take the court we expect to win.”