Rod Gorman had opportunities to leave Houston in the spring for other basketball programs. The veteran leader with a hall of fame resume said he ultimately chose to return to HHS to stop the revolving door of coaches through the struggling program.

“I asked myself, ‘If I don’t do it, who is going to do it with these kids?’” said Gorman, who last year was the team’s 10th coach in 11 seasons. “It’s not fair to them. They need stability and someone to stick it out with them. I’m going to be that guy.”

Gorman came to Houston last year after retiring from a 500-win career at Logan-Rogersville. He couldn’t join a new program until August, which coincided with the Tigers’ vacancy as their new coach resigned two months after accepting the job.

Gorman said he knew the challenge he faced with a program that was 27-118 the previous six years. It continued as Houston went 5-20 and finished the season with 11 consecutive losses and winless in the conference.

“Last year was tough to endure –– not to endure the kids, but to watch them endure the lopsided losses,” Gorman said.

But he returned with hopes of building on the foundation of that first year.

The Tigers lost their leader in scoring, assists and rebounds in guard Lucas Kelley. But they do return six players who earned varsity letters, including a pair of seniors who were regular starters and three players who played significant roles as freshmen.

Gorman said HHS will be led by its forward tandem of Ty McCloud and Michael Clayton. The duo are two of the team’s five seniors.

{{tncms-inline alignment=”right” content=”<p>“It’s not that I want to prove it for myself. I want to prove that these kids and this community can be successful. If I can help them do that, I feel good about it.”</p> <p>-ROD GORMAN</p>” id=”cdfd290b-55fc-4a8c-89b8-4d2325f0b15f” style-type=”quote” title=”QUOTE” type=”relcontent” width=”half”}}

In the backcourt is the talented sophomore trio of Kyler Ramsey, Clayton Moore and Isaiah Buse. All three were expected to potentially start but Ramsey (broken finger) and Buse (sprained ankle) could be sidelined until January.

Junior Paydon Dixon, a part-time starter last year, will start the season at point guard. Two senior transfers, Michael Zamarron and Christian Heathington, will be part of the guard rotation with Moore.

Off the bench, CJ Lee, Joe Brown and Dakota Burchett will provide frontcourt depth. Jaekan Moss, Nick Zamarron and Thomas Smith are options in the backcourt.

“We have some really good athletes and some skill in the sophomore class,” Gorman said. “It’s going to be a very balanced team. That’s a strength, but that’s also a weakness. We don’t have the kid that as a coach you know will get you 18-20 points.”

One big advantage this year’s team has is familiarity with Gorman.

Because he accepted the job last August, Gorman had no offseason interaction with the players. He comes into his second year with not only a full offseason of work but also 11 players who have been alongside him for a full year.

“It’s so much better,” Gorman said. “The kids who played in our program last year have progressed very well. They are comfortable with the style we play, language, drills and offenses. That part has been great.”

Gorman said his first goal for this year’s team, which opens the season at home Tuesday night against Cuba, is reaching double-digit victories. That mark would double last season’s win total and be the most for the program since 2010.

The players, Gorman said, want to have a winning record. And that’s the reason he returned.

“It’s not that I want to prove it for myself,” Gorman said. “I want to prove that these kids and this community can be successful.

“If I can help them do that, I feel good about it.”

“It’s not that I want to prove it for myself. I want to prove that these kids and this community can be successful. If I can help them do that, I feel good about it.”

-ROD GORMAN

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