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Boys basketball preview

Practice started last Monday. What have you learned about the team since then?

We have a very young group that does not have a lot of varsity experience. The guys have a lot to learn and experience yet, but they got a lot better as the week went on. We learned a lot from our scrimmages on Saturday and they showed us what level we have to practice at every day in order to compete.

Matt Nelson was lost to graduation after leading the team with 16.6 points per game. What returning players you looking to in terms of stepping into bigger offensive roles?

Matt is a big loss for us (along with our other six seniors). Matt is playing at MSU-Moorhead and Keijuan Brown is playing at DCTC. We return our two starting guards from last season. They will both be expected to score the ball for us this season. We have a lot of other guys that have not seen varsity action yet that will need to step up. As our guys get more experience they will improve.

Seniors Nelson (6-8), Brandon Forcier (6-5) and Tyler Liermann (6-5) provided a lot of the team's size last season. Who are some of the candidates to step up in the post?

Matt Gulland (6-5, senior), Jack Kessler (6-4, sophomore), Kyle Liermann (6-4, Junior) and Kyle Kuapa (6-4, sophomore) all have done some good things for us so far in the first week. We have some other guys that could step up and play some minutes for us in the post too. We will be placing a huge emphasis on playing team post defense and team rebounding this season.

Those two returning guards are Garrett Goetz (6.1 points per game) and Cole Northwick (8.6 PPG) What else do those two bring to the team? And who are some other candidates to join them in the backcourt?

Garrett and Cole will give us good scoring and ball handling. We need them to step up as leaders and on the defensive end this season. We have a lot of other guys who will see minutes in the backcourt. The guys that play with intensity on defense and rebound that basketball from our guard positions will be the ones who earn the most minutes.

Are there any other players coming up from the lower ranks who you could see making an impact on the varsity?

We will have six sophomores on JV-varsity this season, along with eight juniors. We have a lot of guys who are similar in size and abilities. The guys that play with defensive intensity and rebound the basketball will earn the minutes. Our captains this season are Garrett Goetz, Sam Broback and Matt Gulland. We are looking for these guys to lead our currently inexperienced group.

Last year's team went 11-15 with eight of those losses coming to ranked teams. In what areas does this year's squad need to improve the most to hang with all those tough opponents at the top of the South Suburban?

We will need to play with energy every night on both ends of the floor. Defensive intensity and rebounding our going to be two huge areas in which we will need to succeed in order for us to compete with some of the top level teams in our conference/ state. We have a good shooting team, but a big emphasis of ours is attacking the paint and getting multiple paint touches in a possession.

What are your goals and expectations for this year's team?

Our coaching staff's goals and expectations for this season our:

• Learn lifelong lessons

• Create lifelong friendships

• Make lifelong memories

• Get better every day as a player and as a team both on and off the court

• To be playing our best basketball in March

We will have a meeting before conference play begins where our players will set their own team goals.