With tryouts just completed, Maloney has to get his varsity boys in shape for a tournament in Denver on Dec. 2-4. The junior varsity team will play its first game in Parachute on Dec. 4, while the C-team, mostly freshmen, will play Gunnison at home on the same day, Maloney said.
The team only lost one senior last year, but starter Nathan Robertson, “one of our best players,” was hurt playing football and won’t make it onto the basketball court this year, Maloney said.
But the coach has plenty of other good players, including 6’ 8” senior Brian Davidson, who just signed a letter of intent to play for the Air Force Academy. Other seniors include returning starter Niko Youngren, as well as John Sierra, Pierce Donley, Garrett Johnson, Cameron Medina and Levi Thaute.
The first home game for boys’ basketball is Dec. 7 against Basalt, Maloney said, and the team will play host to the Black Canyon Tournament on Dec. 17-18.
After the holidays, the team will go to its league schedule, and Maloney is already sizing up the competition.
“Grand Junction (High) and Fruita are looking to be pretty tough, so we definitely want to emphasize our defense,” he said. “But we’ve got a pretty good offensive group and I’m not too worried about scoring points. I want them to be worried about making sure the other guys don’t score too many points.”
The team also has some “pretty solid” juniors in Nathan Hawley and Cameron Jones, Maloney said.
“Nathan is a heck of a shooter at 6’4” and I’m hoping can help on the rebound end as well,” he said. “Cameron is all around, good defense, and I’m hoping he can score a little bit and rebound some and help us in a lot of different areas.”
Maloney said he also gets a lot of help from Steve Skiff, varsity assistant coach; Stann Blowey, who coaches junior varsity; and Matt Imus, the C-team coach.
“I’m really thrilled with the staff I have, a great bunch of guys that work real well together,” he said.
“Every coach has his own philosophy,” he added. “We’ll just try to take advantage of the strengths of the players and see if we can be successful at that.”
Maloney also would like to have the support of the community, and he promises an exciting season.
“We’re hoping on making it pretty exciting for people to come and watch an open, fast-paced brand of basketball,” he said. “We encourage them to come out and watch us. We’re pretty excited about what we’ve got.”