Black Bears promise to deliver bigger and better team

| November 27, 2012

WARSAW – Fundamentally, Jason Trout must certainly believe that coaching is teaching and teaching is learning.

That’s why players on his River View High School boys’ basketball team can either find themselves in one of two places.

On one hand, players may be on the court running wind sprints, practicing free throws or perfecting their defensive tactics. Or, they could wind up sitting behind an eight-foot folding table with a text book, homework papers, and practicing teammates in front of them.

Call it Basketball 101 or whatever you want, Trout believes the end result will translate into a bigger, better and smarter program and send a strong message that the classroom doesn’t end when you walk into Luther Stover Memorial Gymnasium.

“Things are going pretty well so far,” said Trout, now in his second year as head coach. “I’m happy with the effort, but when it comes to everyone understanding all of our expectations, it never ceases to amaze me because I just read off their grades.”

That meant that the study table near the gymnasium doors was occupied as practice got underway.

All things aside, Trout is pleased with the progression of his players and the program.

“The interest level is back up and the kids are excited about it again. I think we’re starting to turn it into something that people want to be a part of again.”

Some of the excitement was generated by successes in athletics during the fall sports season, one of which was the 5-5 record compiled by the football season.

“(Assistant Principal) Matt Colvin has always said that football season sets the tone for the whole school year and in general, expectations around athletics are high.”

Gone from the program are the 32 points per game put up by district player of the year Michael Adams as well as intangibles Jason Hammond and Daniel Gwinn.

“We’re really going to miss guys like that,” Trout said.

Returning are a few seniors, led by 5-foot-10 point guard Hunter Winegar.

“Hunter has definitely become our leader in the locker room and on the floor,” Trout said. “He’s almost become like a third or fourth coach. He’s developed into a great kid and others look up to him, respect him, and listen to him.

“They know he’s been around for four years and has played a significant role in helping get this thing turned around.”

Wineger has defined himself as the team’s top clutch scoring threat.

Trout expects the rest of the rotation to consist of John Rice, Dylan Watters, Tyler Triplett, Bink Burley, John Dart and Matt Brillhart.

A 5-8 guard, Burley returns to the court after having not played since junior high and is the team’s only other senior who will see significant playing time.

“He’s really athletic. He’s fast and jumps well, but we’re still working to bring back the feel of the basketball to him.”

Another senior is Swiss exchange student Antione Kovaliv, but he will likely only see junior varsity playing time.

Rice missed the majority of his sophomore season due to a broken foot, but he returns to provide a strong one-two punch in the paint with true post player Tyler Triplett.

The pair of juniors both stand 6-foot-3, but possesses different types of skill sets that will benefit the Black Bears in terms of mismatches.

“John is very athletic and is both an inside and outside threat and Tyler is a big kid who is coming off a great year in football and is somebody we’re really excited about the next couple years.”

Another key contributor is 6-4 junior Corey Miller. Having started on the varsity since his freshman year, Miller will move from the post to the wing.

“His experience as a starter for three years is something none of our players have,” Trout said.

Watters, a 5-8 sophomore, saw extended playing time as a freshman and Trout has designated him as the starting point guard.

“We expect him to run the show for us and he has done a great job in practice so far,” Trout said.

Beyond the top five, others expected to be in the mix are sophomore James Craycraft and freshmen John Dart and Matt Brillhart.

“I anticipate that we will have eight solid players in the rotation who will play every night,” Trout said. “I would like to have more depth than that, but I’m happy with these guys. They go out and hold their own.”

Trout truly believes his team will be able to improve upon their 3-18 season of a year ago.

“This year, the core of our team is a little bit younger, but I think we can take the next step,” he said. “Last year, we kind of got people’s attention and now we need to go to the next level and really compete.

“We want to be the team that others circle on their schedule and say ‘that’s the game we need to get.’”

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Category: High School

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