Bulldogs get with the “Program” on, off court

by Benita Fuzzell
The 2023-24 Fulton Independent High School Bulldogs’ basketball team
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First year Head Boys’ Basketball Coach Noah Croak is “very excited” about this season’s Fulton High School Bulldogs, crediting the team for working “extremely hard” in the off season.

“They have taken major steps in becoming a real program on and off the floor. The future is bright at Fulton City with all of the young players in the system. Kaybrun Burton, Jamarion Jackson, Jamar and Jamal Martin, and Corbin Fulcher will be extremely fun to see develop over the next handful of years,” Coach Croak said.

The Head Coach will be assisted this year by Lead Assistant Bryce Garris and Assistant Coach Tre King.

He has also had three more volunteers to offer their help, in Josh Burton, Travis Jeffery and Tristan Lalley.

While it is Coach Croak’s first year at FHS, he has spent the past seven years coaching college leagues in Texas, Florida, Kansas and Kentucky.

Seniors on the roster include Taziyah Ware, Mason Oliver, Shane Lalley; Juniors, Brandon Maclin, Cameron Morris, Charlie Cavness; Sophomores, Jamar Martin, Jamal Martin, Javarious Gholson; Freshman, Corbin Fulcher; and eighth graders Kaybrun Burton, Jamarion Jackson and Elijah Ware.

The preceding season resulted in a 3-23 record, but the Head Coach has already pinpointed the strengths each player brings to the table for this season.

Jamar Martin, he said, is an extremely quick guard who can finish at the rim and Brandon Maclin is a pest on ball defender, while maintaining leadership qualities and toughness.

Jamal Martin is a good shooter with a high IQ, and Taziyah Ware is a athletic forward who crashes glass hard.

Cameron Morris is a powerful post player who controls the paint.

Those five will be plugged in to the starting positions.

In line right behind those five will be Kaybrun Burton, who is a versatile young player who also has no problem putting points on the board. Coach Croak says Corbin Fulcher is the ultimate glue guy, and a real winner who plays hard and is versatile, able to “do it all.”

Also ready to go in will be Jamarion Jackson, a young guard who is coachable, Mason Oliver, who possesses the ability to be a shooter and has a high IQ, plus Charlie Cavness, an always-reliable back up forward.

“Cameron Morris has brought the most energy and has been a reliable player. Corbin Fulcher, although young, has let his play do the talking along with leading the team off the floor. Jamar Martin, Jamal Martin, and Brandon Maclin have all played a part in leadership,” Coach Croak said, when asked about team leaders.

The key players this year, will be Jamar Martin, because of his role as the point guard and commanding the team, Cam Morris, who could be a dominant player inside and Taziyah Ware, who the Head Coach describes as an unknown commodity who can impact the game. He credits Kaybrun Burton, who is young player, but, if he figures it out, he could be a major scorer at any level. Jamal Martin and Brandon Maclin will be steady backcourt members for the team, Coach Croak said.

In reviewing this season’s schedule, District 1 is “loaded” with Carlisle County, Fulton County, and Hickman County’s new first year coach, who Coach Croak knows from the College ranks, Mark White.

“We also play St. Mary and Ballard Memorial, who are two of the top teams in Region 1. We’re excited to play,” he said.

The 2023-2024 Bulldogs will see strength in post play.

As is the case with most young teams, youth may present a challenge.

He also noted these young men are adjusting to a new world of basketball in the system, and they now in what he refers to as the “installation stage” of the program.

His goals for the season?

“Be the toughest team, most together team, and most excited team to play,” he said.