NEW PARIS — The National Trail boys’ basketball team returns just three percent of scoring and rebounding from last year’s team which finished 8-14. This will be a season head coach Mike Harrison calls “a brand new beginning” for the program.
“Everybody who is in the gym is completely committed to getting better and doing things the right way,” Harrison said at a recent practice, adding, “I think we got kids who really want to be here and that’s a good place to start.”
“It sounds cliche but when you are starting over, I talk to the kids all the time about being process oriented, focusing on the things you can control, are we doing things the right way — are we doing things fundamentally sound?”
According to Harrison, the team will be replacing nearly everyone this season but he believes a chance to reboot the program could be beneficial.
“The exciting thing about what we have in front us if everything has to be a team thing,” Harrison said. “There is no one player who is going to make up all the scoring, rebounding, handling the ball or playing defense — everything we do has to be five guys on the floor. It’s an exciting thing as a coach because it’s what you shoot for and it’s what we have to be.”
The team returns Peyton Harrison and Weston Haws, two juniors who saw limited varsity action as sophomores a year ago.
They are joined by seniors Dylan Haas and Kaleb Deardorff, but according to Harrison, regardless of age or position, each player will be asked to contribute.
“We’re expecting a lot from everybody,” he said. “Everybody in our program will be asked to do more than they were expecting them to do this summer and that’s an opportunity for more time and having the ball in your hands more.”
Sophomores Dalton Mason, Jacob Hurd and Lucas Boggs will be joining the four juniors and seniors on the varsity roster.
Freshmen Travis Hunt and Adam Eyler will round out the roster.
The key for the season according to Harrison will be playing with fundamental principles. “We have to focus on those things, not the results — we are young, we have virtually no one coming back, we have to get kids to focus on what it takes to win. If we focus on those we can win games.”
The Blazers open the season on Friday, Nov. 26, when the team travels to Seton Catholic (Richmond, Indiana).
Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @aschmidt_RH.