By BRIAN WOODSON
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BLUEFIELD, Va. —
Two of Graham’s three captains for the varsity boys basketball team are listed as sophomores.
As basketball players, G-Men head coach Glynn Carlock Jr. feels like they’re much older than that.
“I think the maturity level as a whole is pretty good,” Carlock said. “I think they don’t play like sophomores and the seniors that we do have are good tight leadership seniors that are going to keep everybody tight together and not allow everybody to spread out and go different directions.”
That is a role being played by a trio of guards, led by 5-7 senior Spencer Sheets and the sophomores, 5-8 Tony Hood and 6-1 Colby Hill.
“It is just a title,” said Hill, of being a captain at such a young age. “I have to come out here and play basketball every day.”
They have. Graham has lost twice, at Abingdon and Bluefield, and sandwiched a five-game win streak in between.
That loss to the Beavers came in a lopsided 75-32 decision last Friday to the Class AA state runner-ups from last season, but Carlock said before the season began that the G-Men captains would help keep the team playing on no matter what happens as the year progresses forward.
“They are going to keep everybody together and the young guys we have, they all played significant time last year in key roles and were put in situations where they were counted upon,” Carlock said. “They have been there for a year so I don’t look at them as sophomores, to me they are a veteran player, that is just how I feel.”
Graham (5-2), which won’t play again until Dec. 27 against Floyd County in a tournament at Fort Chiswell, has received solid play from all three guards early in the season.
Sheets, who was the leader of the Graham football team at quarterback, is glad to be back on the hardwood with the G-Men. Among his highlights this season was connecting on 5 3s and 25 points in a 70-63 win over Tazewell, which began the five-game win streak.
“I am really excited, it is kind of like football. It is the last chance to go so hopefully we will do well and that is what we are going to try to do,” said Sheets, who is averaging 10.7 points a contest, including 13 in a win over Giles and 11 in one of two victories against Richlands.
“This team is capable of a lot of things, we have a lot of athleticism, we have a lot of players that will come out here and do what needs to be done.”
Also a captain on the football team who impressed Bluefield football coach Fred Simon with his leadership ability, Sheets knows his role with the G-Men.
“Just come out here and make sure everybody knows their roles and make sure I know my role and make sure we do what we can do,” said Sheets.
He said he doesn’t have a preference on a sport, as long as he’s playing something. “Whatever the season is that is the season I love, just play whichever one I can whenever I can,” he said.
Hill, who played some quarterback along with receiver in football, has had a few games to remember. He leads the G-Men with 15.4 points a game, including 22 and his first dunk in the initial win over the Blue Tornado. He also had 19 against Tazewell and 16 in one of two wins against Giles.
“We should have a good team. Starting out this season we have been working hard, the offseason has really helped us out and we are looking to see big things this year,” said Hill, who, like Hood, stepped his game up as last season wound down to the end. “We have a lot of athletes on this team that can help us in a lot of ways
“I think I am a lot more aggressive on the offensive side of the ball and shooting the ball more and not being intimidated.”
While Hood doesn’t play football, he has been preparing for basketball season, and has been doing it well.
He is averaging 13.9 points a contest, including 26 points and five 3s, along with nine rebounds, six assists and five steals against Richlands, and another five 3s and 19 points in a win over Giles.
“It is a great feeling to come back with people that you know from last year,” Hood said. “We had a lot of people leave after last year, but we just have to get used to people coming up and stepping in and getting used to the feel of the game.
“We have a few new players so we have got to get them in and get them rolling and keep them smart and keep them going.”
Much like Hill, Hood had to learn on the varsity level as a freshman last season, but that experience has shown on the court early in this campaign.
“I was pretty pleased, I got more aggressive as the season got through,” Hood said. “I just have to keep it up and do what I have got to do to help the team in many ways and be a leader.
“Freshmen have a little bit of pressure, but now that I am a sophomore I have got nothing to worry about really, just do what I have got to do.”
Hood understands his role as a playmaker on the court, but realizes he can’t forget his teammates who may need the guidance of a seasoned sophomore.
“We have to keep our team under composure, don’t let them down,” Hood said. “If they make some mistakes, because we have got a few young players so we have to pick them up. If they make a mistake, we can’t put them down. If we put them down we put the whole team down.
“We have just got to pick everybody up and carry them and show them what they have got to do.”
Carlock is confident his captains will do just that, with a roster of 11 that includes little varsity experience other than 6-3 junior Zach Proffitt. All three can play different positions on the court which is always favored by a coach.
“Those three kids are leaders of this ball club, both physically, vocally, emotionally and any other word you want to put in there,” Carlock said. “They are top-notch kids, they are character kids, and when you ask them to do something you can rest assured that it is will done, to me that is what you want in your captains.
“They can all three really be the point guard at any time which we like that combination. We have three point guards on the floor and the other two fill in the 2 and 3 positions, any of the three can play point for us.”
Graham will begin Mountain Empire District play on Jan. 4 at two-time defending Division 1 state champion Galax.
There is also Fort Chiswell, which played in the final four of Division 2 last year, along with Bland County, Grayson County and Narrows, all of whom combine with the G-Men to make this league as tough as it gets in Group A in Virginia.
“The Mountain Empire District is going to be a tough district once again,” Carlock said. “I think the top three right now would be Grayson, Bland and Fort Chiswell. I am never going to count Galax out with the basketball tradition they have, they just lost a lot of guys. And Narrows, they had some good young talent last year as well.”
“The MED is a very tough district, every team can play the game well, we are going to have to come in here and play our best,” added Sheets. “Everyone is going to have to step up and everyone has the capability of stepping up.”
Carlock feels like if the G-Men show patience on offense, make shots and play defense the way his teams usually do, then the G-Men could be a threat in the MED.
“I think we have a good chance to win the district this year if we play our best,” he said.
“I feel like we could finish at the top of the district if we play hard and do what we have got to do every game, we have got to stay right and do work.”
—Contact Brian Woodson at