Posted: 7:19 am Sunday, April 12th, 2009
By Jason Lieser
This morning’s all-area basketball section celebrates, among other things, Ramon Galloway’s spectacular senior season.
Dwyer will lose Galloway to graduation (and South Carolina), and junior Matt Elam is unlikely to play next season because he plans to graduate a semester early and report to the University of Florida for spring football.
Galloway averaged 18.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game, and Elam was one of the area’s best man-to-man defenders. Without those two, the Panthers’ returning starters are Jacoby Brissett, Greg Louis and Derrick Davis — all currently sophomores.
The onus is on Brissett, a 6-4 guard, to help this group achieve its goal of winning a state championship before graduating. Galloway, his mentor on the hardwood, said Brissett has all the tools to lead Dwyer.
“He’s got the body, the skills and he’s got help,” Galloway said. “That’s the most important thing. He’s got a great supporting cast.
“If Jacoby does his part, they should go all the way. They can win it all their junior year and their senior year. Jacoby is a D-I player. Greg is a D-I player. When Derrick gets more involved in the game and gets loose, he’s going to be a D-I player. They will have been together so long, they’re going to be great.”
Winning a title next season might be a little too ambitious for this group unless they get a talented transfer. That’s difficult to determine at this point. But with Louis (6-5) and Davis (6-6) down low and Brissett directing the offense, it is very reasonable to expect the Panthers to challenge for at least one championship in the next two years. (Dwyer is staying in Class 5A, by the way).
Brissett can play positions 1 through 3, and was Dwyer’s second leading scorer. He averaged 11.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. His numbers probably could have been even higher, but he often deferred to Galloway. It is well within his ability to score 16-20 points per game next season.
The biggest difference between Brissett and Galloway is their demeanor. Galloway is one of this area’s most gregarious and animated athletes, while Brissett is much quieter.
“I would say it’s my team,” he said. “I’m happy and I’m ready.”
A man of few words.
It is interesting to watch Galloway pass the torch to Brissett because Brissett is simultaneously inheriting the reins to Dwyer’s football team.
He split time with senior Bradley Wallace last year, but is expected to take every snap in 2009, beginning with spring practices next month.
Brissett isn’t feeling much pressure in either role, and that can be credited largely to basketball coach Fred Ross and football coach Jack Daniels for getting him playing time early.
Brissett started for Dwyer in its 2008 spring game and was pretty much a disaster (4/13 passing, 55 yards, TD, INT, sacked three times). As bad as he looked that night, it gave him the taste of facing an elite defense and laid the foundation for a solid season last fall.
“It helped me a lot,” he said. “I remember the mistakes I made.
“And practicing with Brad, he always told me what to work on and helped me get better.”
Sharing snaps with Wallace, Brissett was the area’s most efficient quarterback among players with at least 75 pass attempts. He completed 61.3 percent of his passes for 876 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Brissett has a rare opportunity to lead Dwyer to state titles in two different sports. If he does that, he could go down as one of the most successful athletes in the school’s storied history.