2012-13 high school boys basketball previews
Head coach: Jeremy Kurutz (fourth season, All-County COY)
Last year: 17-7, 9-3 (tied for third in SMAC with McDonough)
Athletes to watch: F Josh Smith (Sr., All-SMAC, All-County), G Datavious Thomas (Sr., All-SMAC, All-County), F Jermaine Hunter (Sr., All-County)
Key personnel loss: G Jaylen Scayles (All-SMAC, All-County AOY)
Strengths: Kurutz coached his team to the best-in-county record, had a five-game winning streak last year and scored a season-high 86 points against Patuxent. Kurutz said his team will be competitive again this year with eight seniors that compliment each other well. His team is athletic and multidimensional. Kurutz said that his team has size and speed.
Weaknesses: The biggest challenge for Calvert this season is the time that will be spent on the road as they must travel for each and every game while their school gym is going through reconstruction. Kurutz has added help to his coaching staff to help with the transition. Specified home games will take place at Huntingtown and Patuxent, who have agreed to share their gym. Calvert will also use Calvert Middle School when necessary.
Kurutz also said that he saw some things in the recent scrimmage against Leonardtown, especially shot selection and completion. He said it’s a little too early to pinpoint exact weaknesses.
Coach’s comments: “We’ll take it one game at a time. We prepare for who we play, but we’re not going to alternate what we do. We’re expecting to be competitive and come out aggressive and play our style of ball. We have North Point and Thomas Stone in our way. They’re always going to be tough. We’ve got nothing to lose. Hopefully, they will have a hard time stopping us.
“We have a good group of athletes. Sometimes though, if you come out too confident, you get beat. As soon as you feel like you’re supposed to win, you let teams sneak up on you.”
Key games: Jan. 9 at Thomas Stone, Jan. 30 at North Point, Feb. 1 at Huntingtown
Head coach: Rick Lagana (fourth season)
Last year: 8-12, 4-8 (fifth in MISAL)
Athletes to watch: G Cole Ranier (Sr.), G Ty Herriott (Sr.), G Ray LaPlaca (So.), F Josh Hubbard (So.), F Corey Darden (Jr.), F Zane Mass (Sr.)
Key personnel losses: G Mychal Thomas, F Teddy Secor, C Jordan Queen (All-County).
Strengths: The Cougars have terrific team speed this season and have a desire to win, Lagana said. Calverton started last year 5-9 and only put together back-to-back wins just once and that was early in the season. So far this season, Calverton has won its first two games, including a 64-63 win over Washington, D.C.-based Options Charter School on Friday. Last season, it took the Cougars until Dec. 27 to win their third game.
Weaknesses: Calverton has some talent but are thin as far as inexperience is concerned. In addition, Herriott (mild concussion) and LaPlaca (recovering from surgery) each missed the team’s last game with injuries and it is unknown when each will return to the lineup.
Coach’s comments: “We return just two players that played substantial minutes on the varsity last year. But we have a number of talented first year seniors and a deep sophomore class. So patience is the watchword of the day. We've gotten off to a good start, but we have a lot to learn. It's gonna be a great ride.”
Key games: Dec. 12 at Lab (D.C.), Jan. 18 vs. King’s Christian, Jan. 22 vs. Grace Christian
Head coach: VaShawne Gross (sixth season)
Last year: 10-13, 3-9 (tied for ninth in SMAC with Chopticon and La Plata)
Athletes to watch: G Tre Hawkins (Jr.), C Tim Fallon (Jr.), G Marcus Sims (Sr.)
Key personnel losses: G Timon Johnson (All-County), F Ricky Donaldson (All-County), G Roy Holloway
Strengths: Gross said that his young team should be able to control the offense and defensive glass this year. The Hurricanes will also rely on playing good pressure, man-to-man defense to keep us in the games. The main goal is to improve each night.
Weakness: The Hurricanes lack experience this year at a crucial spot and need to develop guards. Gross said, “Guard play is one of the most important aspects of the game and we are young in this area.”
Coach’s comments: “When you have a young team each game is important. We want to get better each day we hit the floor and we want to be playing our best basketball in late January into February.”
Key games: Jan. 11 vs. Calvert, Jan. 18 at Northern, Jan. 25 vs. Patuxent
Head coach: Frank Moore (first season)
Last year: 5-18, 2-10 (tied for 12th in SMAC with Patuxent)
Athletes to watch: F D.J. Workcuff (Jr., All-County, All-SMAC), F Sammy Thomas (So.), G Adam Gross (Jr.), G Grant Whittington (Sr.), G Cameron Thomas (Sr.), F Adam Spielman (Sr.)
Key personnel losses: HC Clarence Tennell, G Shane Martin (All-County), G Robert Tucker (All-County), F Matt Boothe, F Steve Seifert, C Devin Murphy
Strengths: After leading the Calvert girls to back-to back Class 2A state titles, the longtime coach enters his first year at the helm of the Patriots, replacing Clarence Tennell, who stepped down after eight seasons. Moore said thus far it will be a transition, but the boys are working hard and getting better every day at practice.
The Patriots bring back the 6-foot-4 Workcuff, who averaged 12.1 points and 6.9 rebounds a game last season. Moore said that he will have a good core of senior leadership and a promising sophomore in Thomas, who is also tall and athletic.
Weaknesses: The Patriots lost eight seniors to graduation and Moore mentioned that his team doesn’t have a true scorer, so balanced scoring and the offense will have to improve on, along with defense.
Coach’s comments: “I want us to play hard all the time. All I’m asking is for us to give a good effort every night and we will win a few.”
Key games: Dec. 5 at Patuxent (NC), Dec. 19 at Huntingtown, Feb. 15 at Calvert
Head coach: Nick Wilson (first season)
Last year: 3-18, 2-10 (tied for 12th in SMAC with Northern)
Athletes to watch: G Trey Lee (Sr., All-County), G Joey Parsons (Jr.), F Jake Anderson (Jr.), G Laron Gross (Jr.), G Jahi Norman (Jr.)
Key personnel losses: G Collin Gantt (All-County), G Markus Gross
Strengths: Wilson, an assistant men’s basketball coach at St. Mary’s College of Maryland for five years, brings a wealth of basketball knowledge to the hardwood.
Wilson attended Towson University and was a student assistant/practice player and manager while there. He graduated in 2004 and, three years later, earned a Masters in coaching from West Virginia University. During his five years at St. Mary’s, the Seahawks went to the NCAA Division III tournament four times, reached the Sweet Sixteen twice and the Elite Eight once. St. Mary’s has also won the last four Capital Athletic Conference crowns.
Wilson said his new squad at Patuxent is bringing a great deal of energy to everything they’re doing and they’re starting to take ownership of the program.
Weaknesses: Wilson said the Panthers are not lacking athleticism but have to ensure that they always have it moving in the right direction.
Coach’s comments: “I’ve been really impressed with our improvement on the defensive end of the floor. Our focus from day one has been on us. We are convinced that if we work hard and get better every day, then success will follow. Every game is important for us this year, but there’s always added pressure for the in-county rivalries.
Key games: Dec. 5 vs. Northern (NC), Dec. 7 vs. Calvert (NC), Jan. 25 at Huntingtown