Christ School coach David Gaines saw the complexion of his basketball team change in a major way last week.
Moving forward, he still likes the way it looks.
The Greenies improved to 2-2 after a 71-35 win over Shannon Forest on Tuesday. They are down to three seniors (Lloyd Burgess, Spencer Osborne and Alec Wnuk) after VMI recruit Jon Elmore abruptly decided to leave the program and return to his hometown of Charleston, W.Va.
“It’s easy to look at things and say this is a different team and it is,” Gaines said.
“But I’m confident that no one on our schedule is going to feel sorry for Christ School. We haven’t started red-hot by anyone’s standards, but I still feel like this is a team that is going to be in the mix by January or February. And that’s all you can ask.”
Burgess is a 6-foot-10 center who signed with UNC Greensboro last Friday. Wnuk is a 6-6 small forward who can also play power forward and guard. The Raleigh resident is just the second Greenies player to ever sign with UNC Asheville.
“Some stuff has happened to this team, but I still feel like we’re going to progress uphill,” Wnuk said.
“We all understand our roles, and the seniors especially know what needs to be done.”
So far, Wnuk (11.0 points per game) is the leading scorer for Christ School, followed by Burgess (7.3 ppg.), Mountain Heritage transfer Will Buckner (6.3 ppg.) and Osborne (6.0 ppg.).
Elmore was putting up a team-high 19.5 points a game and Saturday’s 56-41 home loss to Greensboro Day was the Greenies’ first game without the shooting guard. Elmore’s departure means that Wnuk is now the only returning starter from last season’s 22-7 team that lost in the semifinals of the NCISAA 3-A tournament.
Christ School will host its annual tip-off tournament this weekend and be involved in the inaugural Coaches vs. Cancer Shootout on Nov. 30 at UNCA.
“We’re still trying to figure out what style of play fits this team,” Gaines said. “We’re going to see some different styles of play, especially in the tip-off tournament and my hope is we find out better where we need to put our kids in position to succeed.”