Start-up Slam: Jefferson J-Hawks

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) It's been more than a decade since Jefferson basketball had such high hopes heading into a season. In 2004, the J-Hawks placed fourth in state and come this spring, they think they have what it takes to go back.

An experienced returning lineup with an injection of a pair of transfers from Auburn and Guilford has Jefferson believing its potential is limitless.

The J-Hawks are led by 10th year head coach Todd Brannan, who guided his team to an 18-14 record last season.

Jefferson is senior-heavy with Myquion Garrett, Quillen Dixon, Terry Ford and Jy'aire Robinson leading the way.

But Brannan says his players are not getting big heads before they even take the floor.

"On paper everything looks great," said Brannan. "We've got to go out and execute on the basketball court. I know our conference and our coaches in the conference. They're very good and they're going to have their kids ready. From our standpoint, we've got to go earn it. Nothing is given and we have to go out and earn everything."

Despite the grand expectations, Jefferson is not treating this season any differently.

"I feel like it's like any other season," said Garrett. "I'm just coming out here to play and have fun. Our team's out here to have fun. We're just going to play as hard as we can just like we have done in years past."

"With all of the hard work that we've been putting in and everybody's striving for the same goal, it brings us together as a team more and it helps us come together collectively," said Robinson. "Everybody realizes the amount of potential and how good that we can be so everybody knows that we're going towards the same goal. It's a good feeling."