The Mercer County Senior High boys basketball program struggled their way to a
14-18 finish in the sixth and final season of Josh Hamlin’s tenure. The 2022-23 Titans finished 13 out of 18 region 12 programs, and lost 65-48 to eventual region champions Pulaski County in the opening round of the Region 12 tournament.
On a more positive note, the program only graduated two seniors, and a wealth of experience and maturity will be available to new Head Coach Keith Adkins, one of the most coveted hires in program history. Adkins’ resume boasts 20 seasons of collegiate coaching experience at three separate NAIA universities, two at Lindsey Wilson, two at Life University and 16 at Campbellsville University. Prior to Adkins’ appointment at Campbellsville, the Tigers had managed only four 20-win seasons in the last 36 years; in the final 10 years of Adkins’ tenure, the Tigers accomplished seven 20-win seasons. Most recently, Adkins made the switch to the high school level, leading the Campbellsville Eagles for the last three seasons.
Since 2000, Adkins teams have accomplished: three Mid-South Conference Tournament championships, 10 NAIA Tournament appearances, three NAIA Fab Four appearances, one N AlA championship appearance, two 20th District championships and 448 wins. He was also voted NAIA National Coach of the Year for his efforts with Campbellsville during the 2014-15 season.
As a player, Adkins helped Paintsville High School to three consecutive Region 15
championships, including a run to the final four in 1987. As a senior in 1988, Adkins was a first team All-State selection and eventually committed to the University of Notre Dame. Adkins is a serial winner, and he brings an abundance of knowledge to an experienced and athletic Mercer County squad.
After getting to know the players and their abilities since being appointed on May 1, Adkins has identified three key areas the Titans will need to adjust in order to execute Adkins style of play. Decision making, physicality and most important, defense.
“When this season is over, you will be able to measure our success by how good we were defensively. We have a lot of kids who can score and we can score in a Jot of different ways. But, if we want to reach the level that we are talking about, then a lot of guys are going to have to become better on that end of the floor. We have the size and athletic ability to be great defensively. I just haven’t seen a consistent mentality that indicates we are there yet,” said Adkins.