Eric Chaney has made a lot of adjustments since moving to New Albany from Chicago this school year. From the change in scenery and leaving the big city lifestyle he grew up in, the Bulldogs’ sophomore is slowly making a name for himself in the hotbed of Union County.
“It was really difficult. The temperatures are really different. Where I’m from it’s really cool, and then I come down here and it’s real hot, so it’s been really different,” he said.
“I had to adjust to it since I came from a bigger city, and this is a small town. I was able to get to know people real quick, so I’m getting use to things.”
The only thing hotter than a summer in the south is Chaney’s playing as of the early season. The 5’9 guard currently leads the team in assists (30) and is second in steals (14). His quick hands and smooth style is something many are not used to seeing, and a talent that head coach Brad Gray has welcomed to his team.
“He’s brought enery and effort, and he’s just a basketball player,” Gray said. “He makes plays that you can’t teach a kid; you either make them or you can’t. To top it off, he plays very good defense. He’s been a real asset and blessing to our program.”
Chaney, moving from East Aurora High School in Aurora, IL., added that his talent is something he has not had to work on much.
“I was just born with it. I’ve never really practiced at it; it just came to me naturally,” he said.
Pairing with Chaney in the front court is senior Kareem Brown, and with their combined talents, New Albany has one of the best guard duos in the area. The two also round out a tough lineup including Tadarius Coburn, the Bulldogs’ leading scorer and another newcomer to New Albany, Moses Kingsley.
“If we put our minds to it, we can be among the best point guards in North Mississippi,” Chaney said. “If we can just keep playing like we’ve been playing, we have a good chance of making it to state.We have Moses coming along, too, coming along real well. We just have to keep playing like we have been.”
The Bulldogs hope their new additions will help them make a push in the playoffs, where they lost to Rosa Fort last season. While he noted the differences in the game, Chaney knows that despite the change, there is only one goal he’s focued on.
“It’s a lot more intense up north, so it’s been easier to adjust to down here,” he said. “I’m having fun and hopefully we can accomplish our goal of making it to state.”
Chaney and the Bulldogs will return home on Jan. 4, hosting Itawamba.