Clinton’s Max Holy dribbles down the floor during the River Kings’ season-ending loss in Cedar Rapids last season.

Clinton boys’ basketball head coach Troy Ersland is in the second year of his tenure, and there’s a very clear theme to his roster: guards.

The River Kings are made up of primarily speedy athletes with not a lot of height, especially after losing forward Bret Myli to graduation last season.

The 2-19 Kings are returning a large amount of their perimeter players, though. Athletes like Taylon Hayes, Max Holy and Zach Hoffman will return.

“Taylon Hayes and Max Holy have been working hard in the offseason to polish their ball handling abilities and be leaders for us in that area,” Ersland said. “I expect them to carry the load in running our offense and bring the primary ball handlers.”

If you watched the River King basketball twitter feed over the summer, you would have seen a big emphasis on outside shooting. With a lack of height, the three will be big in offense generation and the Kings knew to focus in on it.

“We made a concerted effort to improve our shooting in the off season, especially from beyond the three-point line,” Ersland said. “The team made over 9,000 threes from May of last spring until the start of this season. Our confidence has grown shooting the ball and it’ll be important for us to make shots from three to make up for our lack of an inside game and size.”

Besides offensive generation, they’ll also have to look at rebounding. The Mississippi Athletic Conference has a lot of lengthy teams, but Clinton won’t be in those ranks. They have just two returners who break the 6-00 mark, losing their top two rebounders.

They’ll have to focus on stopping the ball away from the rim.

“We will be aggressive going for rebounds on offense and defense,” Ersland said. “We plan to mix it up quite a bit on defense, using our speed and aggressive mindset in the half court and full court to disrup our opponents game plan.”

Ersland has stated his intentions to turn the program around and sees that starting. It may not be a 20-win season for the River Kings, but he sees it as a step forward

“I am proud of the work that so many guys have put in since last season,” Ersland said. “The program is definitely moving in a positive direction.

“We have guys that will be playing in new roles and our approach on offense and defense will be completely different than last season but the energy and effort has been there so far and we will continue to build on that one day at a time.”