NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck boys basketball team’s way of playing the past few seasons has been inside-out. Two years ago, Jarron Chapman would drive the lane and shoot or kick it out to Jason Bradley or Dayvon Russell on the three-point line. Last season, it was Fejiro Onakpoma working down low and shooting or kicking it out to Corey Plasky, Steve Marinaro or Andre Trosan.
However, with the graduation of Onakpoma, their leading scorer, and James Messidor, the Greyhounds’ other big man and second leading scorer, head coach Mike Wilson said his team is going to have to change things up.
“We are going to have to play a different type of ball this year,” Wilson said. “We have been big the past couple of years. This year, we are going to be a little smaller. We are going to have play faster and really get after it on the defensive end. It will be really tough filling the void of Fejiro and James.
“As far as filling those spots, I can’t even really say who is going to do it yet,” Wilson added. “There is just a lot of opportunity available. We have been changing lineups and switching things around, but nothing is really rock-solid yet because, truly, nobody on the team has really proven themselves yet.”
The Greyhounds finished last season 5-15 and return several key players, including, Trosan, Plasky, Shane Swierbitowicz, and Tyler Deitelbaum, all of whom are seniors.
Naugy opens the season with a difficult schedule. They start the year off at home on Saturday against Notre Dame of Fairfield, the Class M state runner-up in 2015 and 2016, followed by games at Kennedy, home against Wilby, and at Holy Cross.
Wilson said seeing how much his team can compete will be more important than wins and losses over a tough road to start the year.
“We will get a good judge on where stand,” Wilson said. “If we can compete with the city, then I feel like we can compete anywhere in the state. We do have some tough games early and we are going to have to learn from those.”