NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck boys basketball team is hard at work restocking a lineup that graduated four senior starters — Corey Plasky, Tyler Deitelbaum, Shane Swierbitowicz and Josh McFarland — from last year’s squad that finished 10-10.
Head coach Mike Wilson along with assistant coaches Jahmal Francis and Brett Hayward are busy putting the pieces in place for another run at the postseason.
“What we lack in height we make up for in our athleticism,” Francis said. “We have several football players on the team, and one of our biggest challenges is bringing a lot of new players into the fold and forming that bond as a team.”
Seniors Caleb Scott and Latrel Deveaux will team up with senior football players Jaden Bennett and Ricardo Montanez to provide senior leadership for the team.
Playing in the NVL always present its challenges with opponents like Crosby, Wilby, Sacred Heart and Holy Cross. The good news is the Greyhounds have several players who gained valuable varsity minutes last year and are more than ready to take up the slack.
The Greyhounds also have several impact players back this year, including junior Jean Lukau Mbalandaka, who led the team in scoring last season, junior point guard Elijah Robinson, forward Jesse Lanci and sophomore Derrick Jagello.
“We are an up-and-coming team right now and the guys are working hard,” Francis said. “We are not that tall, and it’s going to take an effort to do the things to make us successful on the boards. We will need to box out and really hit the glass if we are going to limit opponents to one shot.”
“We do have some talented younger players who could see some varsity time. Justin Barth, a freshman, has shown he has the ability to help us out in spots,” Francis added. “The NVL is one of the toughest conferences in the state, but I feel we have the talent to compete for a spot in both the NVLs and the states.”
Naugatuck will get the season underway on Tuesday at home against Kennedy. The Greyhounds will conclude the first week of the season on Thursday at Wilby.