Summer basketball typically works as a kind of testing ground before the beginning of a new year. With it, coaches see what they have to work with and prepare for the coming winter season based on their observations.
For a Blue Jays basketball squad that lost seven seniors to graduation in May, that testing ground is especially important. After closing out the team’s summer with a 3-3 performance in the Nixa Shootout on Wednesday and Thursday, Marshfield head basketball coach Adam Carpenter was pleased with what he and his athletes learned.
“We got to see the things we need to clean up and work on, but we also go to see some things I feel like we’re really good on at this point,” said Carpenter. “It was a good learning and growing experience, I would say.”
Chief among the positives was returning starter Drew Cromer, who will be launching his senior campaign this November. “Drew’s going to be a great leader for us; he’s scoring the ball well for us, handling the ball well, growing into the leadership role,” Carpenter assessed. “He’s extremely smart and focused, so we’ll be glad to have him in the driver’s seat.”
Other returners who saw minutes last year are Bradyn Porter and Peyton McBride. The former is heading into his junior year and the latter coming in as a sophomore.
“Both of those guys show glimpses of being really good athletes,” said Carpenter. “We’ve just got to work on consistency when we get underway in the season, and getting people set in their roles will help.”
As for what those roles will be, Carpenter acknowledges that his most experienced players are far more about speed and accuracy than raw power, a factor that will inform the team’s plans going forward.
“I would say 80% of our focus is what are our guys good at and how can we help them be successful with those things, and then 20% of our focus is how can we fix the things that we’re not great at,” Carpenter explained. “We’ve got guys that can make shots from the outside, so what are we doing to get wide-open looks? On the flip side, we can’t come down and jack up threes constantly; we’ve got to get to the rim, so how can we get those guys into position where they’re more versatile, more balanced?”
Events like the Nixa Shootout are helpful in concocting that formula because they present the team with some larger Class 5 programs that test the effectiveness of certain strategies. According to Carpenter, it was a perfect way to wrap up the summer and get things in place for the coming season.
“I think our program knows where we need to pick up as soon as we get back together,” he said. “The coaching staff and I sat down and basically listed out some detailed things that we know are most important and most impactful, so that when we get back together, we’ll know what to hone in on.”