Young lineup to take the court for Latrobe boys
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The Latrobe boys basketball team will feature plenty of new faces when the Wildcats take the court to begin the 2013-14 season.
After losing seven graduates from last season's squad, Latrobe returns just one starter in junior guard Matt Cullen from last year's 12-11 team that advanced to the playoffs after finishing 7-5 in Section 1-AAAA).
Needless to say, the Wildcats will need to rely on new faces to emerge on the court. But for coach Brad Wetzel, that's something he's optimistic about heading into this season.
“Right now it's exciting because you just don't know how we're going to develop, what team chemistry is going to be like,” he said. “When you lose seven seniors like that it kind of leaves you wondering how we're going to respond to the grind of the whole thing.”
According to Wetzel, his team has indeed responded well in the early going. The coaches have made it clear that spots are up for grabs and the competition in practice has been spirited up to this point.
“Probably the highlight of the first week of the season, just kind of the intensity level is there,” Wetzel said. “They can see for themselves that there's a lot of opportunity for playing time. It's just going to be who plays the best, not who has the best talent.
“I think they can look to their left and to their right and realize that nobody's got a position nailed down,” he added. “That has made our practices better. That parity can be really good, especially if they know we're serious about people earning spots and earning more time in rotations.”
The Wildcats have six forwards vying for playing time in the front court. Seth Holler; sophomore Craig Stevens; juniors Matt Traggon, Mario Fannie and Lane Loughner and senior P.J. Self are all competing for spots.
“Right now they're kind of battling it out and we'll see how we're going to fit that rotation, but we don't really have any clear distinct idea yet,” Wetzel said.
One area where Latrobe has some returning experience is at guard. Cullen, along with junior Chad Kissell and sophomore Sean Graytok will be called upon to lead the Wildcats from the backcourt. All three are expected to start.
“I think that's going to be a trio we're going to count on to kind of set the pace of games and build on,” Wetzel said.
All three bring slightly different aspects to the court. Wetzel described Kissell as a player with a scoring mentality while Graytok is someone who can handle the ball while posing a threat with his shot and Cullen as an excellent overall athlete.
“(Cullen has) got good athleticism, probably the best on the team and a nice first step,” Wetzel said. “I think his game has evolved to be pretty balanced.”
While the team goal is always a championship, Wetzel has set realistic expectations for his young team and hopes to see it improve and play its best basketball in the late winter months.
“I would just like to see us play to our potential and go as far as we can,” Wetzel said. “Obviously, I would love to go deep into the playoffs, but you've got to get there first.”
Alex Oltmanns is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers notebook: Brown calls Sanders’ comments about Roethlisberger ‘terrible’
- Pirates stumble in bid for sweep, lose to Giants, 7-5
- Steelers to retire Joe Greene’s jersey number
- Stowaway’s access to Air Force plane eyed
- Steelers offensive linemen looking to build on strong 2013 finish
- Pirates’ Alvarez continues to sit, work on throwing woes
- Harrison woman burned in trailer fire
- 30 cited for trespassing at union rally
- Penn State gets verbal commitment from Maryland defensive end
- Western PA Wildcatz semipro football team chasing national title
- Merion member claims state amateur championship at Oakmont