Although the seniors and their leadership will be missed, the Rams return a bevy of talent, including all five starters from the second half of the season. In all, Mineral Wells will maintain eight varsity players and gain Justin Hendrickson and Conner Bradshaw, both of whom played significant roles on Mineral Wells' junior varsity team.
Leading scorer and assist man Clardy will be back for his senior season next year, as will three-point specialist Wendt, defensive specialist Rascellis Williams and co-leading rebounder Juvaree Sutton. The Rams' other leading rebounder, Johnson, will only be a junior.
"Our expectations will be very high next year with the group of kids we have coming back," Pappas said. "The coaching staff is very excited about the team we will put on the floor next year. We will dedicate our time to improving on our weaknesses this offseason as well as continuing to better our strengths."
Like gold that is tested in fire, these returning players have overcome the trails of the 2013-14 season and emerged more refined than ever, with a steely resolve to improve on this season's disappointments. Pappas believes, with good reason, that the sky could be the limit for next year's veteran squad.
"Even though we did not meet our expectations this year, we have alot to prove next season," he said. "We have the core of our team back and are looking for the opportunity to be a top-25 team. Our goals will be lofty and we will work accordingly to reach those goals. We will be ready for the challenge."