None of this is new to Philip Flory and his Wisconsin Rapids boys basketball teammates.
It’s their coach, Dan Witter, who has the biggest adjustment to make.
Witter has more than 300 coaching wins but has never had a player who garnered the type of attention Flory received before he played his first high school game.
Flory is a 6-foot-3 freshman verbally committed to play college basketball at Marquette. Marquette coach Buzz Williams offered Flory a scholarship in August during a visit to the Milwaukee campus.
That has brought additional attention to the Rapids basketball program.
“I’m not used to getting text messages from Buzz Williams,” Witter said. “Or getting a weekly letter from Marquette.”
This is only the beginning, as Rapids will open the season Thursday night at Bay Port.
Flory and his Rapids teammates grew accustomed to each other by playing in a summer league at UW-Marathon County. They also hosted a scrimmage Monday against Wausau West, Rhinelander and Lakeland. The next step is to play in a varsity game.
“I can’t wait to play for coach Witter and Wisconsin Rapids,” Flory said. “I’m excited for our first game.”
Teammates have welcomed Flory.
“Philip is a team player and he’s excited about playing with us,” junior Riley Pressley said. “And we’re excited to play our first game together.”
With Flory at Rapids, the Wisconsin Valley Conference could be home to another talented freshman. Last season, Stevens Point Area Senior High point guard Trevor Anderson earned first-team all-conference mention as a freshman.
Flory will be a shooting guard, Witter said.
“Trevor had a different role in Point’s offense than Philip will have in ours,” Witter said. “They set 50 screens a game for him and that won’t be the case in our offense. Phil will score his points, but so will several of our guys.”
The Raiders will play five games away from home — once at Bay Port, once in Rhinelander, twice in Wisconsin Dells and once in La Crosse — before a home game Dec. 6 against Merrill.
Rapids ended last season with records of 5-18 overall and 3-9 in the Valley.
“We have to get better on defense and our communication on the floor has to get better or teams are going to run right by us,” said Jace Williamson, the Raiders’ lone senior. “We’ve got some good young players and we’re going to get better as the season progresses. I like our team and wouldn’t want to play with anyone else.”
Witter said the start will not be easy.
“We could be 0-4 and still not be a bad team because of the caliber of teams we’re playing,” Witter said. “We are a team that’s going to improve as we gain experience.”