During the past three seasons, Javon Daniels kept a close eye on Alex Sotomayor and Tyvon Grant.
The two were prolific scorers, able to break down a defender in an one-on-one situation and put up big points for the Watkins Mill High School boys basketball team.
“For a lot of years with Tyvon and Alex, we could go one-on-one a lot more,” said Daniels, who is a rising senior. “They were very good one-on-one players and we don’t have too many one-on-one players this year.”
With Sotomayor’s and Grant’s graduation this year, the Wolverines will have a different concept and feel this winter, with unproven players left to take over the team.
Sotomayor and Grant were versatile scorers, especially from 3-point shot range, and averaged 18.2 and 15.4 points, respectively, last season.
“We’re going to reinvent ourselves around what we have,” coach Jay Tringone said. “We’re going to be more of an attack-the-basket type of team, more physical. And I’m looking forward to that. That’s the exciting part of high school basketball. No two teams are the same.”
But Sotomayor and Grant aren’t the only losses. Patrick Schlosser (6.3 ppg) and J.R. Gibson (5.3) were seniors, leaving Robert Montgomery (5.8) as the only possible returning player for the Wolverines top five scorers.
Daniels and Obi Patrick both got a taste of varsity action last year and are trying to get their teammates ready for next season. They have been trying to organize twice-weekly practices and are encouraging younger players to lift weights whenever possible.
Watkins Mill is not participating in summer league basketball this year.
“I’ve been trying to talk to a lot of the kids, reaching out to them, getting them to play during the summer,” Daniels said. “I’m trying to get them to grow up fast and get them ready for the speed of the game. Everyone plays faster than the [junior varsity] level. Then there’s school, the homework, practice every day, watching film of different players — I’m just getting them ready for varsity basketball.”
Patrick also stressed the need for the team to get bigger so the Wolverines can play more of a physical game.
“It’s just going to be a challenge,” he said. “I think just staying together as a unit is important. Just staying together through adversity is important. It’s a long season and as long as we do that, anything is possible.”