GSL boys basketball
For differing reasons, Central Valley and University boys basketball coaches are encouraged about their prospects for the upcoming season.
Most of the Titans have varsity experience and all are products of U-Hi coach Jay Humphrey’s previous two seasons at the school.
“No doubt about it, this is the best group I’ve had since I’ve been here, in talent, chemistry and attitude,” Humphrey said.
At CV, just four veterans return, so the Bears will sport a new look, the roster peppered with sophomores. But it is a look that coach Terry Irwin likes.
“This is an excellent sophomore group,” said Irwin. “A number will get extensive playing time.”
The competition will be stern for both of the Valley schools, neither of which is likely to be picked to finish among the Greater Spokane League’s top four. Ferris is considered the overwhelming GSL favorite and a number of teams bring back the bulk of their lineups.
But there is reason to believe that both Valley schools will be in the thick of things.
CV quartet expected to set tone
Central Valley’s new players will learn at the feet of four Bear veterans.
Back for his third year is 6-foot-3 Jeff Allen. Returning for their second seasons are 6-3 Ben Platt, 6-2 guard Corby Schuh and 6-6 post Carson May.
“I’m so happy with their leadership,” said Irwin. “It all stems from them.”
Schuh averaged nearly 13 points per game last year and could be even better this season.
“He can play,” said Irwin.
As a sophomore, Platt was a major factor and will be called upon for even more his junior season.
“I look for him to be our rebound leader again and to have more of the scoring load,” said Irwin.
Just when he was beginning to emerge, Allen broke his ankle and missed the last half of last season.
“He needs to get his basketball legs back,” said Irwin of the all-league football player.
May has put on 15 pounds and will be more physical inside.
CV’s biggest concern was point guard but that may have been remedied by the addition of sophomore Ryan Smith who transferred from East Valley.
“He has a chance to be one of the better ones I’ve had,” said Irwin. “He’s so quick.”
Nine others figure into the equation, including senior point guard Ben Abrams, 6-5 senior post Chad Schulz, juniors Raif Jochim, Ryan McElvain inside and Josh Nesbitt outside.
Other sophomores are post Marc Hinckley, point guard Richie Lentz, and shooting guards James Martin, another EV transfer, and Todd Millar.
“I will play most of the sophomores and won’t be afraid to play them at critical times,” said Irwin.
Titans will turn ‘em inside out
Because of its size, University will definitely look inside first to score against opponents this year.
“We’ve been too perimeter oriented in the past,” he said.
As a sophomore, 6-foot-5 Erik Carlson played with abandon and was likely the Titans’ most effective athlete. Back for his third varsity season is 6-6 Craig Allen and joining them is 6-4 junior Zaq Flanary, U-Hi’s 230-pound two-way football starter.
“They’re not just plow horses,” said Humphrey. “All can run the floor well.”
Which makes them a logical focal point for U-Hi’s offense.
Others back from last year are Kelly Hineman and Ryan Massey who offer speed and inside-outside versatility. Derek Wetzel will provide the team its outside game.
“He’s maybe our best spot-up shooter,” said Humphrey.
Sharing point guard are varsity veterans Joe Jeffries fresh off a standout football year, and junior Aaron Fryer.
Varsity newcomers are juniors Nick Earling, Jeff Price and Marc Heimbigner.
“They all came in when I did and know what to expect. That’s a big advantage,” said Humphrey. “It won’t be easy, but we’ll be competitive and fun.”
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