This season the Paris varsity boys basketball team will be without two frontcourt players and three backcourt players from a year ago.
This includes Dylan Painter, Brant Ensor, Matt Unterbrink, Jacob Green, and Nic Thomas. Factor in the fact that this team went just 8-18 overall last year and the Coyotes prospects probably don't apear that bright. Fortunately, if there's anyone who is a part of this scenario that might know something that others don't, its head coach/athletic director Wade Billington.
"We would like to see improvements in our defensive intensity, and just overall work ethic. Being young we're going to have to outwork our opponents," Billington said. "We are already seeing an improvement in this area. The boys have been focused and working hard each day. We will need to see an improvement in our rebound number to compete in games. Getting contact before the shot is a big key for us as we're a little undersized on the glass."
The optimism some might feel for this squad stems directly from the fact senior forward Brett Miller is recovering from a meniscus tear and could be back with the team as early as christmas. The prognosis for guard Brandon Williams isn't nearly as positive, though, as he's out indefinitely with a fractured wrist.
"With our injuries mounting we will have several young players who will be asked to make an impact," said Billington. "We are expecting freshmen Reese Barton and Chris Ebbesmeyer to contribute early in the season. We might see some other freshmen come on as the season moves forward."
When it comes to what ails this program, for sophomore forward Blake Turner its his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). While Billington and his staff also hope to have him back before the new year begins, in place of those fallen athletes will be a cast that includes sophomore point guard Konnor Heitmeyer, junior guard Adam Forrest and senior forwards Dakota Howard and Zack Rentschler.
"This year's team has really been focused and are extremely coachable. We are improving everyday," Billington said. "Early we will experience some young mistakes but we hope that as the year goes on we will see an improvement daily and from one game to the next. Our young players are going to get a lot of valuable experience and hopefully this will lead to a large amount of growth."