Coach Jeremy McGraw and the Whiteoak boys basketball team hope to improve on last year’s 5-18 record by focusing on the Wildcat’s young, hungry players.
“Our ultimate goal is always first to win the league, but we also want to improve on last season’s record,” McGraw said. “We’re smaller and younger this year, we know that. But our younger guys have bought in, and they’re smart and talented.”
With a team composed mainly of sophomores and juniors, McGraw said he’s hoping the team will adjust to the speed and physicality of the varsity game.
“We’re working on being more fundamentally sound on both ends of the floor,” he said. “Sometimes, we take that for granted.”
Specifically, McGraw said, Whiteoak has improved its defense since the start of practice.
“They’re starting to realize what we want to do on rotations, post defense and on-the-ball defense,” the coach said. “I’m very pleased with it so far. When it comes down to it, we always need more defense. Defense and intensity, and making sure we get some good contact boxing out.”
McGraw said the Wildcats are looking for improvement on a nightly basis.
“We want to improve every single night and in all phases of the game, whether it’s a practice or a game,” he said. “We expect to be competitive each night we step on the court.”
Top starters this year are juniors Stephen Ross, Trever Yeager, Michael Crowe and Charley Skinner, McGraw said, although that lineup will probably change as the season moves forward.
“On any given night, our starters could change,” he said. “We compete in practice daily, and we have younger kids who are hungry.”
Those battling for a starter position, McGraw said, are freshman Hunter Ruckel and sophomores Atlee Carr, Traeten Hamilton, Zach Rand and Evan Brill.
In the end, McGraw said he wants his team to be fundamentally sound in all the aspects of the game. If they can get that straightened out, he said, they have a shot at meeting their goals.
David Wright is the sports editor for The Times-Gazette. He can be reached at 937-402-2570.