Langston Hughes Basketball Preview
As fall high school sports have begun in the southeast region of the country, winter sports are getting things underway as well. "You have to have a 24 hour work ethic" explains Rory Welsh, head basketball coach at Langston Hughes High School in Atlanta. Welsh is preparing for his fifth season as head coach of the Panthers and with good reason, believes Hughes is a heavy favorite for the 2016/2017 6A state title. The Panthers will be returning seven seniors, whom have all been with Welsh for all three previous seasons including senior guard Derrick Cook, who averaged 16 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists per game in 2015 and was selected to the 2nd Team All-Region last season. Also returning will be senior and Missouri State commit, Khalil Cuffee who suffered an ankle injury his sophomore season but returned in 2015 to average 15.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.
Joining Cook and Cuffee will be 6'5" guard Landers Nolley II who is returning to Georgia following a state championship win with Chicago's Curie High School in 2015. "Really excited about him", Welsh says of Nolley II whose father played on the hardwood with LSU. "We've got a lot of early test", explains Welsh referring to showcases the Panthers will play in that include teams like Berkmar and Allatoona who went 27-0 in regular season in 2015. Following showcase play,
Hughes has one preseason match-up against Sequoya before heading into region play. "We're not going to run from expectations", adds Welsh, "We need to establish ourselves early and we look to make a deep run into region and state play. I honestly feel like we can be the team to beat." Two deep at every position, the Panthers are loaded with talent and athleticism and are set to make their run to bring Hughes its first basketball championship.