The Bronchos will be guard-oriented with veterans Devin Haney, Quarin Hood and Darian Collins all returning.
Haney, a senior, could play anywhere from point guard to power forward.
“He’s improved his shooting and he’s really worked hard in the offense,” coach Scott Radeker said. “I think he’s a kid who’s really going to shine.”
Radeker said Hood, a senior, also has improved his shot and has gotten stronger. That additional strength will come in handy while pursuing rebounds.
“I plan to grab a lot of offensive rebounds and use my speed to my advantage,” said Hood, who averaged a little over two rebounds a game in 2012-13. “You have to pick angles. It’s not how big you are. Anybody can rebound. We want to rebound and get the ball up the court as fast as we can.”
Collins is the Bronchos’ top returning rebounder and cracked the starting lineup as a freshman.
“He’s a catalyst for our team defensively,” Radeker said. “I’m proud of the progress Darian has made. Darian is a good rebounder for us, offensively and defensively.”
The Bronchos are lacking size, but 6-foot-4 sophomore Naija Chandler can match his veteran teammates in athletic skills and the ability to run the floor well.
“He’s very active inside, always seems to be around the basketball,” Radeker said.
The Bronchos got a boost from senior Justin Gordon’s return to the program.
“With him, Naija and Devin inside, that’ll be a nice rotation for us,” Radeker said. “We’re not oversized. We’re not going to jump over anybody. Rebounding position is going to be huge for our team.”
A deep guard corps became deeper with senior Trevor Mays moving in from Tennessee and freshman David Hanyard impressing in preseason practice. Both could play point guard.
“He’s very vocal, a very unselfish player,” Radeker said of Mays. “He’s a very smart, likeable kid. He’s done a great job getting himself immersed in the program.”
Hanyard’s skills have impressed Hood.
“He comes in with great skill … fast,” Hood said. “He knows the game.”
Junior Des Wilson moves up from the junior varsity and brings shooting skills with him. Shane Shipley and Sam Collins also could contribute, Radeker said.
To improve last year’s 7-15 record and overcome its height disadvantage, the Bronchos will need to play good defense and use their speed.
“We’re very athletic, kind of small, but that’s nothing new to us,” Hood said. “We’ve got to play smart, we’ve got to out-think people. We’ve got to use our speed to our advantage.”
Radeker is hoping that seniors Hood and Haney help mold a young team quickly.
“It’s been a challenge, but the guys are responding really well,” Radeker said. “It’s a great group of kids with great attitudes, very unselfish and they’re working really hard. I’m really excited about what this team will bring coming into the season.”
— Ken Thompsonfirstname.lastname@example.org