Archive for Thursday, December 2, 2004

Bobcats enter new era

Basehor-Linwood hoops hopes for turnaround under direction of new coach

December 2, 2004

The Basehor-Linwood High School boy's basketball team is hoping to turn its program around this season. Desperate for improvement, new head coach Mike McBride was handed the reins of the 2-19 team in hopes to make the Bobcats competitive once again.

The decision was made to hire McBride late last school year, so despite having held only two weeks of practices, he's been able to get familiar with the team.

"I'm extremely excited to be here," McBride said. "We've got a lot to do, and I'm going to work my butt off to get this program where I think it can be."

In spite of inheriting a team with a losing record, McBride has an optimistic outlook for this season.

"These boys are really big and athletic," he said. "They lack fundamentals, but we have some really good athletes."

With six seniors returning to the team, the Bobcats have reason to believe this season may be different from previous ones.

"We've all been waiting for this for a long time," said 6-foot-6 senior Joel Vandervelde. "The seniors have played together for a long time and are all really close."

Vandervelde and his fellow senior teammates will get plenty of time to play together this season. According to McBride, along with Vandervelde, seniors Michael Armstrong, Nicholas Box and Seth Lashbrook will make up part of the starting five. Junior Jordan Fuqua, a player McBride says is one of the best he's ever coached, will fill in the last spot.

"If you watched one of our practices, you'd be able to pick these kids out," McBride said of his projected starting five.

Although it wasn't too difficult for McBride to pick out his leaders, who he's going play off the bench is entirely up in the air.

"The door is wide open for our sixth through eight," he said. "We're really looking for a couple guys to step up and add some continuity on our team."

McBride played at Butler County Community College and Cowley County Community College, where he was a defensive specialist. McBride brings the same defensive philosophy to Basehor as a coach. He plans to run a lot of pressure defenses, including a match up zone and a match up full court press. This may prove to be difficult, as a lot McBride's concepts are new to his players.

"It's difficult to learn some of these new things," Lashbrook said. "But we're adjusting well and staying late after practices everyday."

Hoping his newly instated pressure defense will lead to a lot of turnovers, McBride plans on utilizing his team's athleticism to spark the fast break.

"We're really focusing on being fast but disciplined," McBride said. "One of our best attributes is that we are both big and fast."

All this remains to be seen in a game situation, but the Bobcats will try to put all speculation to rest after their first game Dec. 3 at home against Pleasant Ridge.

McBride won't be satisfied with just one win. He will gauge his team's success by how far they progress in practice, and he is marking his calendar for Dec. 10 when his Bobcats face Mill Valley.

"I already see a lot of improvement, but the Mill Valley game will really help us gauge what level we're capable of playing at," said McBride.

The Bobcats aren't lacking heart or faith in one another, but they definitely need to gain some confidence, the kind of confidence that you can only get with wins.

"Every game is going to be an important one for us," said McBride "If we work hard and sell out everyday, win or lose we've won."

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