Hope Springs Eternal, But Not on the Summer Team

It happened today during open gym. I was playing, and through no fault of mine, my team was losing. So as I sat on the side, Coach Lange mentioned the schedule of summer team camps. My mind shifted gears. I didn’t wanna play anymore. I was obsessed with the composition of my summer JV team.

A few quick thoughts come to mind, essentially identifying the core guys. Then it gets fuzzy. Combinations and permutations flash across my beautiful mind. Players are in, players are out. We are pretty good. We might just suck.

I enlisted help. Text Paul (no feedback). Text Mr. Charm. Twenty minutes of back and forth. By now I was at the soccer field watching practice. I gave up. Walked to the car, picked up a legal pad, a pen, and started writing out the player pool.

Seventeen names. That’s unmanageable and surplus to requirements. Summer team games are played during weekend team camps. Multiple games per day, but frequently the games are shortened to some extent or involve a running clock. This means playing a bunch of players is impossible. I will not take more than 10 players to a camp, and my preference would be 8.

The pool is comprised largely of players that were on the freshman team last year. The most is known about this group as they have been exposed to our culture and perform in game circumstances. The differentiation in this group is among those that have demonstrably improved in terms of skill, knowledge of the game or physically, and those that have stagnated. Embracing the culture is secondary, but still important. Which of these players has bought into what we expect of our players on and off the court. It is evident that the pecking order during the season has materially changed.

The rest of the pool is comprised of players that either moved into school after the season started, or did not play basketball for whatever reason. This evaluation is far more speculative, but I believe there is value to adding new components to the team to increase competiton, and avoid stagnation. In evaluating these players, they must have some physical quality the effects the game, and demonstrate a basic commitment to playing basketball to justify their inclusion.

Beyond the seventeen player pool, there is the possibility of incoming freshman of significant talent to play JV immediately, transfers, move-ins, and other people displaying a late interest in playing. The situation is fluid.

Between now and our first team camp on Memorial Day weekend, I will trim the pool to ten players. That will not define who will ultimately where Purple and Gold in November, but will establish a lean working group. I am not sure how many, or if any of the players in the pool will read this post, but they are being evaluated by the staff constantly and competing with each other. Those that grasp this reality first will gain advantage on the others.

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