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The Journal Gazette

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Teams wait to be interviewed and photographed Monday at media day at North Side.

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Basketball players form teams around Fort Wayne wait in line to be interviewed Monday at media day at North Side.

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Teams from the Fort Wayne area wait for interviews and photos at media day Monday at North Side.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017 1:00 am

Players, coaches eye 1st practice

Boys basketball teams gather for media day

AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette

The wait is almost over.

Less than a week away from the first official high school boys basketball practice and all area coaches could talk about at media day at North Side on Monday was how much they were looking forward to Nov. 6.

“I'm excited to get started,” said North Side coach Shabaz Khaliq, whose team won the Class 4A semistate last year. “We've had open gyms and workouts and things of that nature, but it's not the same until you actually get started. We have a whole new group of guys. I look forward to working with these guys and working with something different than what we've been accustomed to in the past few years.”

Since the beginning of the school year, teams have been able to lift, condition, play in open gyms, but coaches haven't been allowed to work with the teams.

“It's hard to tell in open gyms because you can't really direct anything,” Northrop coach Rod Chamble said. “You just kind of throw the ball and watch. I wouldn't say we're a supertalented team, so you don't see anything that stands out to you other than you notice kids who get along with each other, they are playing together quite a bit.

“They make their own teams, you can't pick the teams. You start seeing kids that like each other and play well together, but you don't really know that when you put your schemes in, how those kids will adjust.”

Despite all the open gym sessions and having key players returning from last year's team, for Snider, typical practices will come a little later next week.

“We have tryouts, probably 75 kids try out,” Panthers coach Jeremy Rauch said. “We won't be able to hit the ground running until Wednesday.

“The whole first week will probably be defense. We want to be able to get our offense from our defense so our defense will dictate the way that we play. We want to set that mentality right from the start and everybody who's going to play will have to guard.”

Even the players are eager to get going, especially after seeing teams' best players accompany coaches at the media day.

“This is fun,” Wayne senior guard Anthony Phillips said. “It's cool seeing the athletes and best players for teams coming around here, meet up and talk to the media.

“I can't wait until the balls roll out, seeing all the competition and hearing Wayne being thrown around as one of the top teams. I love it all.”

First-year Bishop Luers head coach Will Hubertz, who came to Fort Wayne from Lafayette Central Catholic, had his first opportunity to mingle with area coaches.

“I'm looking forward to building some relationships,” he said, “and meet some of the longstanding coaches in the SAC and see if they can mentor me as I get started and help me along the way. I'm looking forward to that.

“Playing and coaching at Central Catholic, we were the small school playing bigger schools like the Indianapolis schools like Cathedral and the SAC translates well. We're going to be the small fish in the big pond. It's going to be a lot of competition night in and night-out and will test our guys and the team that we're looking to put together.”

areichel@jg.net