Joshua Chavis likes what he sees, particularly on the defensive end, as the Laurens boys’ basketball team prepares for the season.

“We’ve shown tremendous improvement so far during practice, which is a must since we lost our top three scorers,” he said.

The Raiders went 8-18 in Chavis’s first year as head coach. Dee Foster was an all-region player who averaged 22.7 points a game, but he has graduated along with three other starters: Leonard Williams, Dravious Copeland and Nigel Owens.

Joshua Cureton is back. Chavis calls him “a long and athletic junior.”

“He is a tremendous rebounder and shows an abundance of defensive presence with offensive potential,” he added. “J.Q. Fair and Chase Jackson are good outside shooters who on any night can get hot.”

Chavis set earning a Class 4A playoff spot as the team’s first priority.

“Greenville is considered the region favorite with Greenwood behind them,” Chavis said. “Greer, Eastside and Laurens could be a toss-up for the third spot.”

Chavis said he expects solid leadership from seniors Fair and Zy Miller, whom he said were “two guys who are very vocal and lead by example by always doing the right things, on and off the court.”