Head Coach: Greg Phillips
Last Year’s Record: 13-15 (9-9)
Top Returning Players: Al Durham (Jr.), Lane Foster (Sr.), Darius Harrison (Sr.)
Top Newcomers: Jay Estime (Jr.), Zac Cooks (Jr.)
Key Games: Heritage, Duluth, Newton, Brookwood (Twice), Jenkins, Lake City Classic, Shiloh (Twice), Dacula (Twice), Sequoyah
Team Preview: Berkmar is a team that has enjoyed a lot of success in year’s past. They are now looking to get back to the ways of being a contender for a state title in Georgia’s highest classification. The Patriots return a solid core of players and have brought in guys that will be big contributors to their success this year. The biggest returner for this Patriots team is junior guard and Indiana commit Al Durham. A lot of Berkmar’s success will be contingent on Durham and how he establishes himself among the state’s elite. It could be a breakout year for the lefty guard, so he could be a player to watch as he looks to keep improving on building on last season. The Patriots also return senior point guard Lane Foster. Foster has become known as one of the better defensive guards in the state and will also be one of the primary ball handlers on offense for Berkmar. In the frontcourt, Berkmar does not have a ton of depth, which places a lot of importance on the guys they do have. Josh Culver has graduated and moved on to the next level, so look for forward Darius Harrison to fill his shoes. Harrison was a surprise at HoopSeen’s Fall Preview and impressed with his aggressive and physical play. The Patriots will not need a lot of scoring from him, but if he buys into his role of playing physical, rebounding, and defending he could have a lot of success this year.
Despite returning some good players, a lot has been made from Berkmar bringing in a couple of key players from other Gwinnett County teams. Jay Estime has made the move from Peachtree Ridge. He is one of Georgia’s standout players in 2017’s class. Estime brings a lot of versatility to Berkmar’s lineup and will probably see time at just about every position this year at some point. He also gives the Patriots a good scoring punch and shooting ability. Also making the move is Zac Cooks, a former Norcross guard. Cooks will give Berkmar a knock down shooter on the perimeter and will also take on some of the ball handling responsibilities. With players like Durham and Estime and their ability to create, Cooks could have a nice year shooting the ball.
Berkmar is playing in a very tough region 8-AAAAAA this year; however, they will be contenders in the region and a team to watch out for come region and state tournament time. They have the pieces, it will be interesting to see how they put them together.
*Article courtesy of www.hoopseen.com- Carter Williams