Before Chris Leonard takes the court with his Marshall Mavericks for today’s game, he’ll likely try to shut himself off from the outside world to focus in on what he needs to do to help his team come away with another win.
“I just shut all social media and I put on a couple songs and I get in my zone,” Leonard explained. “I go for a little rap and I go for a little country.”
The senior guard has high expectations for his final year of high school basketball.
“For us to become more of a team and to go all the way to the state championship, that’s our main goal,” he said when asked what he hopes to accomplish this season. “Just bonding off the court is the main thing.”
Leonard added, “I’m more aggressive. My confidence is sky high.”
“He’s a really good on-ball defender,” Marshall head boys basketball coach Bobby Carson said of Leonard. “He’s really, really quick. He plays hard all the time. He’s turned into our most consistent outside shooter. He’s a good ball handler. He’s a really good player. He has a good attitude. He doesn’t say much but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. He’s played a lot of basketball so he’s pretty savvy. He works hard. He passes his classes and he doesn’t get into trouble. Mom and dad are real supportive. They come to every ballgame. That’s been a huge plus.”
Leonard said the energy that the fans bring helps fuel the Mavericks.
“It’s great,” he said. “I like how they give us energy when we’re on the court and I just feed of their vibe. It helps us even more when we’re on the court.”
“I can swing him back and forth,” Carson continued. “I guess the best way to describe it is he’s a combo guard. He’s a combination point-guard-two-guard. He can penetrate, handle the ball and shoot the three. It’s nice to have him, Jayson Tuck and Lyrik Rawls. They’re all so versatile and can play more than one position on the perimeter. Sometimes I have all three of them out there. All three of them have played point guard. All three of them can shoot the three and all three of them can get to the basket. That’s a nice option to have. If you’re lucky, you have just one point guard but we’ve got three who can do it.”
Last year saw the Mavericks miss the postseason for the first time in 10 years. Leonard is determined to make sure to help lead his Mavericks back to the playoffs in 2020.
“It just adds motivation for everybody,” Leonard said. “This is a revenge year for us. We just want to get our wins back and get back to the playoffs.”
The Mavericks currently hold an overall record of 18-6 and a district record of 2-0. They are slated to return to action today when they play host to the Pine Tree Pirates. Tipoff for the game has been moved up to 4:30 p.m. at the high school due to severe weather in the forecast.