Boys basketball preview: Parker hoping to bounce back
JANESVILLE--The goals are simple this season for Janesville Parker’s boys basketball team.
Head coach Keith Miller wants his Vikings to be unselfish, work hard and forget about the past.
Parker comes into the season on a 36-game losing streak, including an 0-23 mark a year ago.
“Last year was a learning experience, especially for those guys coming back,” Miller said. “But our focus now has to be on what we want to do this year and not what we didn’t do last year.
“We’re working as a team and as coaches on building realistic goals for this year. And at the top of that list right now is being unselfish. Everybody knows we’re going to be a much improved team when we’re unselfish.”
Parker returns its top five scorers from a year ago, including Chris Galvan. The 6-foot-5 forward averaged a team-high 11.6 points per game last season.
“Chris can play all five spots on the floor and can be a matchup problem for teams,” Miller said. “He has taken ownership since the first day of practice and become a leader, and that’s something this team needs.”
Miller likes the energy he’s seen thus far from Kavion Ellison. The senior averaged 5.2 points per game last season, but Miller said his presence is more pronounced on the defensive end.
“Kavion works his butt off on the defensive end, and I look for him to take a big step up for us this season,” Miller said. “He energizes our whole team with the way he plays and gets after it on the court.”
Juniors AJ Thompson, Tremar Curry and Brody Dahlke all averaged 6.8 points per game last season. Curry, at 6-3, may handle the point guard duties, while the 6-3 Thompson gives the Vikings a physical presence down low. Dahlke has expanded his game, according to his coach, to more than just a catch-and-shoot mentality.
“Those three have been building up for this season since their freshmen year,” Miller said of Curry, Thompson and Dahlke. “It’s time for all three of them to take the next step in their development, and I think they will.”
Miller also likes the potential of sophomore Brady Biba and freshman Robert DeLong and expects them both to log quality minutes.
Rounding out the roster are six juniors. Connor Stricklin (6-4), Toby Garvoille (6-3) and Kortae Valadez (6-3) provide solid depth in the frontcourt, while Brody Lippens, John Bosers and Andrew Meyers will push for playing time in the backcourt.
Parker opens the season tomorrow against Freeport as part of the Rockford Tip-Off Classic. The Vikings play Rockford Guilford on Friday.
Miller knows it’s a long season but is anxious to see his team tip things off.
“I’m looking forward to seeing us tested,” Miller said. “Not so much on the scoreboard, but how we work through things and handle adversity.
“More importantly, the first couple of games are going to tell some guys where they stand right now. And hopefully, that means when we come back to practice on that Monday, they’ll be working twice as hard to try and steal some minutes from some other guys. That’s what I want to see.”