Q&A: Centennial basketball's Allen Whitehart

Coach Allen Whitehart’s Centennial boys enter the weekend 15-6, having played nearly half of their games against opponents outside Georgia.

Centennial finished 2-1 and 3-0 in the Prep All-Star Classic and Rotary Roundball Classic in the Carolinas during Christmas break. Then, after losing twice in the Flyin’ to the Hoop tournament in Ohio, the Knights split individual showcase games against Virginia’s T.C. Williams and South Carolina’s D.W. Daniel last weekend. T.C. Williams later had the victory against Centennial taken away for using an ineligible player.

Whitehart provided his reasons on why out-of-state games are so important.

1. Good measuring stick

“Going out and playing other teams helps you craft the skill-set you want, so you’re really ready when you play the (Region 6-AAAAA counterparts) Wheelers, Waltons and Miltons. If you make it to the end of these tournaments, you’re playing back-to-back nights against heavy competition. That’s great to get ready to play at a high level consistently.”

2. Valuable exposure

“When you’re playing at such a high level, you’re getting your kids seen by scouts who might not have ever heard of them or seen them before. It helps to get kids in these big-time game environments.”

3. Opportunity to experiment

“We’ll throw some things in that we’re not as good at, knowing that in the bottom line, it doesn’t affect us back here. It gives us a chance to do [things] against high-level athletes without it being detrimental to our region or state seedings back home.”

4. Team building

“When teammates have to live together and be on the same timetable for a week, it gets them closer and they tend to learn more about each other. When you submerge them into being so intensely together -- eating together and doing everything together -- a lot of positives develop. When you’re trying to establish that camaraderie and togetherness every team wants, these trips are a huge growing process. These are business trips, though. We’ve got bed-checks. We take up cell phones. The kids might not like it, but from our perspective, it’s strictly business when we go out of town.”

Michael Alpert for the AJC

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