Typically there are a lot of unknowns for basketball teams during the initial get-together. But for the Canterbury boys team, there are even more than usual.
Monday was the first day for official boys practices for teams around the state, and the Cavaliers were out there in the school’s gym getting ready for the 2011-12 season after winning the school’s first sectional championship last year.
The early talk was more about what (or who) is missing than what was there, among the 20 players trying to knock the rust off and get into basketball shape.
Not on the court Monday were the juniors – including Trent VanHorn, Chase Moyle and Cole Walker – who were on the East Coast for the school’s annual college trip.
The big news, of course, was the lack of star forward Austin Hatch.
The Michigan recruit is still recovering after surviving a plane crash in late June that took the lives of his father and stepmother, Steve and Kim Hatch.
After spending the week visiting colleges in Rhode Island and Connecticut, Van Horn, Moyle and Walker will be back to practice for Canterbury, while the playing status of Hatch is still up in the air.
Hatch, who led the team with 23.3 points and 9.3 rebounds a year ago, returned to Fort Wayne in early October after spending about three months in a hospital in Traverse City, Mich. He is back at Canterbury with a limited class schedule.
Even without the 6-foot-6 Hatch, the Cavaliers should be really good, returning Van Horn’s 16.1 points, senior Davis Rao’s 10 and Moyle’s 6.0. With Hatch, they could be a Class A state contender.
Dressed in his Canterbury blue polo shirt and khaki shorts, second-year coach Dan Kline put the players through their paces, with the goal of getting ready for the season opener Nov. 22 at home against Central Noble. In an honest, matter-of-fact way, Kline said he has no idea whether Hatch will return to the Cavaliers.
It is unknown right now, he said. We are just preparing for the season. I don’t really know how to plan for something like this, but we are moving forward and carrying on.
Then Kline returned to his defensive drills, working on not giving up the backdoor layups or the baseline.
Decked out in reversible gray-and-white practice jerseys, the Cavs players simply began laying the foundation for what they hope will be a season to remember and hopefully one that will include Hatch.