When it comes to playing under Indiana native Mike Greathouse, the Smith Mountain Lake Christian Academy boys basketball team can expect a few things each practice under its head coach: lots of running, attention to detail and working on the fundamentals.
Players and assistant coaches for the SMLCA boys team will also say that a guarantee in every practice is his “back in Indiana” stories.
“He use to say ‘back in Indiana’ every single practice when I played for him,” assistant varsity coach Thomas Dean said with a chuckle. “It was probably like five times a practice he would say that.”
Practice recently began for the Ospreys after tryouts ended last week, but Greathouse has been under the weather recently and has stayed home as a precaution. So it’s safe to say that it’s been a different setting for the Ospreys, who are facing some question marks after losing nine seniors.
Leading the way in practice right now for the boys team are middle school boys head coach and assistant varsity coach Dexter Beverly, assistant varsity coach Tommy Jordan, as well as Dean. With only three upperclassman this season, the Ospreys are going to see a much different look than last year. Jordan noted that two main areas the team needs to work on is ball handling and team chemistry.
“The team chemistry is going to be huge for us,” Jordan said.
Beverly followed his comments by saying that being a Christian-based basketball program, they are always trying and preaching about loving and knowing everybody, which will help tremendously.
A strength for the Ospreys this season will be their height, with senior Mason Neighbors listed as 6’4 and junior transfer Cole Webster listed as 6’8, the height advantage seems like a clear choice that the Ospreys will be running their offense in the paint and perimeter. Only thing is, Webster is the best ball handler they have on the team and has been running point guard duties. All three coaches said that Webster can beat you shooting from outside, posting up, and running past you with his speed.
“He’s just a freak,” said Dean. “He’s so difficult for defenses because he is such a mismatch.”
Though Webster will be one of the main players the offense runs through, the Ospreys are still left with limited options on offense compared to last year’s state semifinals team. They will look to depend on new varsity players such as Ben Roberson and Eli Phillips to name a couple to try and take the load off of Webster and Neighbors. Beverly isn’t concerned about the limited options, though.
“I have always been a firm believer that if you run your sets the way that they are designed to run, they can not be stopped,” Beverly said. “And I’m a firm believer in what coach Greathouse is bringing to the table.”
Not only do the Ospreys need to find chemistry, but they need to find the leaders who will step up and take charge. Webster has showed that at practice. On Monday, Beverly was ready to end practice and call it a night, but Webster stepped in and said the team needed to get their running in since they were off for a few days and came out rusty.
“That’s leadership right there,” Beverly said. “That’s what we’re looking for: players taking charge.”
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