NAUGATUCK — Most coaches would not be thrilled to have a team that lacks experience. Consider Naugatuck boys’ boss Kevin Wesche the exception to the rule.
The 2009-10 version of the Greyhounds boasts two players with legitimate varsity experience. The other members of the squad will learn as they go.
“I’m excited about our inexperience,” Wesche said. “It’s an opportunity to teach and break things down.”
During the preseason, some coaches in the Naugatuck Valley League will have the luxury of discussing players who have seen NVL action; Wesche will not. He will rely on two returners, seniors Warren Buerkle and Tyler Krupa.
Buerkle, who averaged about six points and started 18 games last season, appears to be the team’s on-court leader and primary backcourt option.
“Warren can control the flow of the game or shoot,” Wesche said. “He can do both.”
Krupa will see time at small forward and be one of the team’s outside shooting threats. His shooting will be critical.
“[Our outside shooting] is going to be very important to keep us in games,” Wesche said.
In the frontcourt, the Greyhounds will look to junior Matt Zahornasky at center and Kyle Krupa at the four or five position. Other players expected to provide a presence inside are senior Cristian Nuenez, a newcomer to the program, and Dashawn Wingate, who, at 5-11, has a knack for the ball and is not afraid to tangle around the basket.
At guard, Wesche said he expects contributions from seniors Marty DeJesus and Dennis Spanhaak, as well as juniors Tyler Conklin and Jamaal Gee. DeJesus brings his defensive skills to the court, Spanhaak offers a soft shooting touch, and Conklin and Gee add depth.
Wesche admits that there will be a learning curve with this year’s team, but he sees a silver lining in the Greyhounds’ lineup, if the team can follow one simple rule.
“The kids have to accept their roles,” Wesche said. “We don’t have a premier player in the NVL that really stands out as a top scorer or rebounder. What we have is a team that if they come together can really stand out as the Naugatuck High School Greyhounds.”
Naugy has already embraced the team concept. In a scrimmage last weekend against New Canaan, the Hounds showed a tendency to pass the ball—too often.
“I had to speak to them more than once because they were too unselfish,” Wesche said. “They passed up too many shots.”