The disgust crawled across guard Caleb Provitt’s face when he was asked about the G.W. Carver boys basketball team’s excitement at facing the state’s top program.
“We’re the top basketball program in the state,” he said.
The Wenonah Dragons, three-time defending Class 5A champions, and Wolverines finally tie up at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Samford in an early-season showdown of state powers.
In fact, it’s Carver’s season opener.
“We’re going to raise the roof,” forward Brandon Murphy said. “It’s our first game of the year and I’m ready. We’ve been wanting to play them all year and they’ve been talking all year.
“We’re going to show them something.”
Wenonah vs. Carver has been a long-awaited showdown.
The teams tried to play last season when both were ranked No. 1 in their classifications. But the Wolverines, who played 15 games Jan. 1-Feb. 2 after their football team made a lengthy playoff run, and Dragons couldn’t work out a date.
Wenonah ended with another state championship. Carver, which won a state title in 2012, lost in the semifinals.
This year, they signed a contract for an early-season showdown.
“They have a storied program and we get to see where we are early, real early,” Carver coach James “J.J.” Jackson said. “We know everybody wants to see this type of game. We missed out last year, but here it is.”
Both teams’ biggest stars graduated and are playing college football with Carver’s Jeremy Johnson at Auburn and Wenonah’s De’Runnya Wilson at Mississippi State. (Wilson won Mr. Basketball last year, too.)
Still, Saturday’s game is loaded with talent.
Wenonah guard Justin Coleman is the state’s top-rated player and has signed with Alabama. Carver’s Demetrius Houston has signed with Mississippi State and Murphy with Indiana State. Both have underclassmen who are future major college signees.
“We’re going to put on a show for Alabama,” Provitt said. “They talk about Wenonah, but they need to talk about Carver.”