The boys’ basketball team will open the season against Basehor-Linwood on Friday, and many players will look to grow and find their roles on the team early in the season.
Senior Traeger Rader is the lone senior on the team, which gives the sophomores and juniors on the varsity squad an opportunity to get valuable minutes on the floor.
Head coach Kyle Deterding said many younger players will have to step up this season.
“It’s kind of a unique situation. We’ve never really been in it,” Deterding said. “We do have some guys that have played some varsity minutes before, but we got a lot of juniors and sophomores that are going to have to take on bigger roles this year, so we’ll kind of be able to see where they fall.”
Returning starters include Rader, junior Jaden Hamm and junior Kale Hammerschmidt. Rader and Hamm help give the team size with each standing at 6-foot-6, and Hammerschmidt will conduct the offense at the guard position.
“Kale doesn’t look to score much, but Kale facilitates really well,” he said. “He's a really good defensive player, he’s really aggressive, he’ll get some steals, he’ll do a lot of things that won’t show up on the stat sheet.”
The team does not have a set starting lineup, and one shouldn’t be expected until later in the season.
“We got six or seven guys we’ll probably mix in the pack,” he said. “We get to the point where we don’t really care who starts, we just want to play.”
Rader said chemistry is one of the strengths of the team.
“We have almost the entire team other than two seniors returning this year, so our chemistry is pretty good since we played last year,” he said. “We work pretty good. We gel pretty well.”
He added that another one of the strengths of the team is their three-point shooting, something he has worked to improve coming into this season.
Hamm said it will probably take a couple of games to get into a good rhythm, but he believes there is talent on both sides of the ball.
“Defensively, we have a lot of quick guys, a lot of guys that can guard and keep people in front,” he said. “Offensive-wise, we have multiple pieces, the only thing we’re lacking right now is size. What we have going is pretty good.”
Hamm has worked on footwork and finishing at the rim to polish his offensive game and those skills will be valuable as he will likely play a key role scoring in the paint and securing rebounds. As a team, Hamm believes awareness on the court will be pivotal in the team’s development this season.
“Knowing where everyone is at all times and keeping each other accountable on the court, that will be a big piece,” he said.
Deterding emphasized the need to play good defense earlier in the season or it could cause trouble. However, he has seen some encouraging signs from his players during practice. The players have been giving consistent effort, which has allowed them to make improvements and adjustments as a team.
“Defensively we got some room to grow,” he said. “We have so many kids that haven’t played a ton of minutes. Everybody's role is going to be different. I think we’ll get better and better defensively and offensively, just finding our roles, finding out who’s going to take what shots, so the offense part is probably going to get better as the season goes along.”
The Cardinals will open the season against a tough opponent in Basehor-Linwood, and Deterding embraces the challenge because it will make his team better in the long run.
“It’s a great game to open up with because if you don’t do something well, you’ll find out right away,” he said. “We’re more concerned about what we need to do compared to other people right now, but they’ll let us know what we need to work on for sure.”
Eudora will host Basehor-Linwood at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
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