The mentoring skills crafted over the years by Coast Union’s venerable varsity basketball coach Tim May will be wholly engaged this season.
Following the loss of seven gifted seniors to graduation this past spring, May faces an enormous challenge. His 2016-17 team put together an awe-inspiring 22-4 record — and the Broncos made it all the way to the CIF Division 5A semifinal game, the first time that has happened in 27 years.
But since every player from last year’s team except Riley Kennedy (now a senior) is gone, and untested young players are expected to fill those big shoes, May’s challenge is sky-high.
“Whenever you graduate seven players on an eight-man roster, there are going to be some major differences,” he said. Because last season’s team was “sensational,” this year is going to represent “a major change.”
And the learning curve for those players moving to varsity from last year’s JV team is going to be “really steep,” May added. The 2017-18 basketball squad will be “very raw early on,” but the coach believes that by the end of the season, the Broncos can perhaps “make a playoff push” in the Coast Valley League.
May expects promising sophomores David Amodei, Nate Markham and David Nolan to emerge as essential players on the team. He also sees in Kennedy a player who is “very vocal and is demonstrating tremendous leadership with the new guys. He has been great at setting the tone in practice because of the valuable practice skills he learned … from the (now graduated) group over the past two years.”
Kennedy broke his thumb playing football this fall, but his coach said the thumb now is “fully healed … and he is wearing a protective sleeve on it during practices because of compensation on the other hand.”
He has the ability to block out the negative and focus on the next shot … he is the epitome of a fearless shooter.
Coast Union JV coach Michael McAvoy on David Amodei
Meanwhile, Amodei, who was impressive running cross country this fall, and made some brilliant catches in the outfield during his freshman year on the baseball team, comes highly recommended by his JV coach, Michael McAvoy.
“David’s energy and passion are contagious,” McAvoy explained, after naming Amodei the MVP of last year’s JV team. “He has the ability to block out the negative and focus on the next shot … he is the epitome of a fearless shooter.”
Nolan, named Defensive MVP last season by McAvoy, was expected to defend players “about 50 pounds bigger, yet he did it with enthusiasm and solid effort.”
The rest of May’s team includes Forrest Johnson — younger brother of last year’s Offensive Player of the Year, Auggie Johnson — Braiden Beauchene, and brothers Will and Zach Stephenson.
At this early stage of the season, May is concentrating on “developing communication defensively in practice and on offense.” The bottom line for May is the need to emphasize “competitiveness and effort” as these players become comfortable with one another on the court.
After a couple non-league road games, and participation in the Ojai Valley Classic (which Coast won last year), the Broncos open up their home schedule against San Luis Obispo Classical Academy at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 12. That game will be broadcast live on KTEA-FM (103.5), and streams on www.1035ktea.com.