Senior guard Justin Senou and coach David Breslaw stood near the foul line during a Richard Montgomery High School boys basketball practice last week going over a play.
Senou pointed one way and the other, making sure he was on the same page as the first-year coach.
Early this season, the Rockets have been in the process of making a transition to Breslaw's up-tempo offense — much different from what they've done in the past — and Senou is at the center of it all.
He's Richard Montgomery's leading scorer, can scan the court quickly to find open shooters and has the control to take the ball to the hoop when necessary. He's the Rockets' leader and has been for a while.
“Justin has been their leader since they've known each other in middle school,” Breslaw said. “They've always thought of him as the best player. They've always looked up to him.”
As of Sunday, Senou was averaging 14.3 points per game for Richard Montgomery, which has started the season 1-3.
He opened the season by scoring 21 points against Wheaton, a 68-55 win, but since, the Rockets have lost three straight games to Watkins Mill, Clarksburg and Paint Branch.
“We have to trust the system that our new coach, Breslaw, has brought in,” Senou said. “We're starting to buy into it. We've been playing way harder than before. Once we get it, we'll be good.”
Quiet on the court, Senou said he needs to speak up more this year.
“They want me to be more vocal,” he said.
And the Rockets are relying heavily on Senou to be their top scorer despite his ability to create for others. He's the team's best scoring option.
“It's a shame we need him to score as much as we need him to score,” Breslaw said. “If we had another scorer of his caliber or even less, we could take advantage of [his passing ability] more. So it's a bit of a shame. But he finds guys.”
Added Senou: “I'm always looking to score, obviously, but I like to get my teammates involved also. It gives everyone confidence to do stuff because when teams key in on me, I can give them [the ball] and I trust them to make the right play.”
Sebastian Cornet-Jean has known Senou since the two were young and were enrolled at the French International School in Bethesda program. They left the school to pursue more opportunities with basketball.
“He's an all-around player,” Cornet-Jean said. “He's versatile. He can do anything on the court. When the team needs him most, he performs at his best. That's Justin for you.”
With the rest of his senior year ahead, Senou hopes to catch the eyes of some Division I coaches.
“It's my last year and I'm trying to have the best year possible,” he said. “I need to have the best year possible for coaches to recognize that and start winning games so they can [say], 'Oh, Justin Senou is helping his team win and putting up nice numbers.' So that's what I'm trying to do.”