When Taf Bentley first started running a summer hoops league at Navarre, game time was limited. The Raiders played 11 or 12 games.
A lot has changed in the three seasons since Bentley took over the program, with the Raiders playing more than 20 games over a four-week period in June.
“It goes fast but I’m real excited about what I’ve seen,” Bentley said. “The kids are playing hard and doing very well. I have a good group of kids to work with.”
With a much different look than a year ago – the Raiders lost seven seniors to graduation – team chemistry is a focal point of the summer league.
“We have a lot of new guys and it’s about creating team chemistry,” Bentley said. “I want to build a solid relationship with them and see them build a strong relationship with each other.”
Dominic Riddle is one of the returning players and understands he’ll have to take on a bigger leadership role this winter.
“I’ve been more of a leader over the summer, helping out the younger guys with the plays and with working as a team,” Riddle said. “I’ve also become a better player, both as a rebounder and scorer.”
Riddle put that leadership and talent on display throughout the summer in a league where the Raiders squared off against solid area opponents Milton, Tate, Pensacola Catholic, Fort Walton Beach, Choctaw and Crestview.
“There is a lot of great talent in this league,” Bentley said. “The games are good tests for our team.”
Read more in the July 7 edition of Navarre Press or subscribe online here.