When Richard Mahone, who is heading into his 10th season as the men's basketball coach at Chattahoochee Valley Community College, looks at his roster, he has to pause for a moment.
What gives him pause is the column with the heading "Year." There are 11 freshman and only three sophomores -- by far the youngest team he has had.
The Pirates open the season Thursday night at Key Hall against Georgia Military at 7:30 p.m.
"We have three pretty good sophomores coming back," Mahone said. "If we can get them to show some leadership while the rest of them grow up, we'll be all right."
Those three sophomores -- James Barnes, Corey Perkins and Antonio Williams -- return from a team that went 23-8 last season and advanced to the Elite Eight in the Alabama Community College Conference tournament.
Mahone is still trying to decide on a lineup and will likely experiment some during the early part of the season.
But it will include Barnes, who averaged 8.9 points and 6.1 rounds per game, He also had 40 blocked shots.
Others who could see some starts include Cornelious Souder, a 6-foot-6 center, forward Cedric Jackson (Hardaway) and guards Ronnie Battle (Central) and Daijon Macklien (Auburn).
Mahone, who has compiled a 182-98 record in his nine seasons at CVCC, took his team to a pair of preseason jamborees, one in Florida and one at Columbus State. The team went 2-4, but the players gained some valuable insight.
"I wanted to get those guys some experience," Mahone said. "They are beginning to see what it takes, but they are still not to where we need them to be."