Romeo Weems and Ashton Sherrell aren’t satisfied with one ring.
That’s one reason why the 6-foot-7 New Haven basketball players worked to expand their games in the off-season.
“I shoot the ball a lot better. I’m going to be more aggressive on offense this year,” Weems, a junior, said Monday before the defending state Class B champions held their first practice. “I’m going to hit some 3s this year.”
Sherrell was primarily a post player last season for a team that featured Duquesne recruit Eric Williams Jr. and others shooting from outside the paint.
“I’m more on the perimeter now,” the senior said. “I’m not always in the post. We’re a fast team. We’ll play some small ball.”
New Haven returns four players who started all or part of last season when the Rockets rolled to a 27-1 record, including a 45-36 victory over Ludington in the state final.
Related: New Haven photo gallery.
Weems and Sherrell started up front. Tavares Oliver, who’s entering his senior season, and junior Ronald Jeffery II had some starting assignments in the backcourt.
“That’s not a bad four to build on,” coach Tedaro France said.
The coach isn’t sure who’ll take the role filled last season by point guard A.J. Crawford III, who’s now playing at Spring Arbor.
“That’s the key, the key question,” France said. “Tavares and Ronald are more scoring guards.”
Jamir Farrior and Da’von Hicks are two candidates to play the point.
“I told them, ‘It’s here. Who wants it?’” France said.
The Rockets are eager to start their title defense.
Their first game is against De La Salle at Calihan Hall on Dec. 10.
That contest features the two coaches who’ve won state championships at county schools: France and the Pilots’ Greg Esler, who led Lake Shore to the 1994 Class B crown.
On Dec. 15, the Rockets host Dakota, the only team that beat New Haven last season. The Rockets will receive their championship rings in a pre-game ceremony.
“It’s going to be a fun night,” France said.
New Haven, the defending MAC Blue Division champion, has non-league home games against Flint Beecher and Saginaw Hill on its schedule.
MAC crossover opponents Dakota and Grosse Pointe South are from the Red Division.
“I’m excited for the season,” Weems said. “I’m ready to get going, compete and work hard and try to repeat.”
“It’s a whole new season,” Sherrell added. “It feels good (to be the champion), but we’re ready to come back and try to repeat.”
The Rockets won’t deviate from what has given them an identity, France said.
“We still are going to take it day by day,” France, starting his 10th season as coach, said. “We can work hard; we can defend; the kids can be coachable. We can control that.
“We’ve got come in here, work hard, learn and continue to get better each day. But the bar is set high.”
France has yet to fill rotation spots for the fifth starter and first three reserves. Those will be priorities in November practices, he said.
“It’ll be exciting to see how that plays out,” France said.
Malen Lewis and Ascaun Johnson, both members of the championship team, are in the mix for court time.
In Weems, the Rockets have a player who’s being sought by some of the top programs in the country.
Sherrell, France said, could be this season’s equivalent to Williams: a player whose recruiting interest grows as the season progresses.
“I’ve got two 6-7 kids who can handle (the ball) and shoot the 3-pointer,” France said. “Both can defend and they both love to rebound.”
New Haven will play in the district tournament at Notre Dame Prep. The winner of that district will be at a regional hosted by New Haven.