WINTER SPORTS PREVIEW: Returning to the hardwood
AMBOY — At the moment, the Amboy boys basketball team doesn’t have it’s full roster since more than half of the team is also on the football team, which is playing for a state title on Friday.
Even though they’ve only had eight or nine of the projected 20-24 members of the team, Clippers coach Brad Dunlap is excited by what he’s seen at practice.
“We want to be competitive. We’re competing everyday in practice. These guys have the heart. They want to be here,” said Dunlap, who has been the AHS coach for three years, part of the staff for four, and coached previously at Warren and Riverdale. “They’re excited for practice. They’re excited for the games. They’re very coachable and doing all the right things.
“It’s just being competitive and competing against every team, no matter who we are playing. I think they really want to win and be successful. It really goes a long way. We have to get better everyday with having some faith, courage, and enthusiasm.
“They’ve been doing well so far.”
The Clippers finished last season 9-20.
Per usual with graduation, the squad lost some seniors.
But to Dunlap’s grin, he’s comfortable with the guys he has coming back.
“We lost seven seniors last year. But, we only started two seniors, so we bring back three starters,” Dunlap said. “This year, we really don’t know who the starters are going to be yet. It depends on who we have, especially right now because we’re missing some guys because they’re playing football. We only have eight or nine guys at practice, which is great, but we’re not able to scrimmage or practice 5-on-5.”
Senior Kyler McNinch was a starter last year and is projected to be a starting guard this season. Seniors Wes Wilson and Garrett Pertell are back after receiving large minutes as juniors.
Moving up from last year’s freshman-sophomore lineup to this season’s varsity lineup are juniors Troy Anderson and Eliseo Vazquez, and sophomore Eddie Jones.
Dunlap also has a couple of sophomores he may call up to varsity.
“The expectations are always high. That’s what we strive for. We’re going to work hard and play hard every day,” Dunlap said. “No matter what the scoreboard says, whoever we are playing, we’re going to play as hard as we possibly can.
“With the youth and inexperience we have, we may struggle in the beginning. There will be growing pains. We’ll fight through it. I have no worries we’ll be where I want to be by the end of the season.”
Amboy will take its first jump ball against Polo at the Ashton-Franklin Center Thanksgiving Tournament at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 21.