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New boys hoops coach takes on the basics | FALCON SPORTS PREVIEW
Several South Whidbey boys are going to have sore legs this basketball season.
That’s because new head coach Scott Collins, a recall from the late 2000s, has devised a strategy to cover some of his team’s shortcomings. Instead of relying on any one player to handle the ball as the Falcons’ point guard, they’ll all handle the ball a little. An offense like that requires lots of movement from the other players when they don’t have the ball.
“He’s getting us ready to play a lot of minutes,” said Falcon senior Brandon Asay.
At nearly 6 feet, 6 inches, Asay is South Whidbey’s tallest player. Though he’s a little light to play a bang-in-the-paint low post player, he said he put on weight through offseason conditioning that will let him take a few bumps when he slashes to the basket, using his length to take quick strides and fend off defenders.
His development is just one example of what he and other players say several players went through between the 5-19 finish last season and now. Junior Parker Collins is poised to be one of the top two players on the team, if not the conference, according to his teammates and coaches. Teammate Nick French said Asay is the other, and noted that if Asay gets into a rhythm making the three-point ball, he could easily be the league’s most valuable player.
Asay was primarily a shooter last year but hopes to set the tone with drives to the rim that will encourage his teammates to “attack the basket.”
Falcon coaches and players noted Collins improved in the offseason. He played with an off-season team in the spring and summer rather than playing select baseball — the first time he made such a choice in several years — and his teammates say the work is paying off. Collins said he focused on specific moves and pivots through repetitive movement and learned to better read teammates’ movement when he has the ball.
South Whidbey will re-tool this season, supplanting the loss of a large senior class with an influx of another senior class. Eight seniors will take up the varsity spots, including Asay and another long and lean wing, CJ Sutfin. French, a forward, is rehabilitating an injured knee and will miss several more weeks.
Though the team is filled with upperclassmen, Coach Collins said a couple of underclassmen may make a significant impact this season. Cody Russell may follow his brother T.J.’s footsteps as a point guard, Collins said, but that will be determined as the season progresses.
To be a playoff team, South Whidbey will need to limit its turnovers and finish in the top two of three 1A teams in the Cascade Conference. That means the Falcons need to challenge King’s and Coupeville, which was the only team to finish with a worse league record than South Whidbey last season.
Just because the other league games have no impact on the Falcons’ playoff chances doesn’t mean they are ignoring teams like Archbishop Murphy and Cedarcrest — far from it. A preseason ranking by the Daily Herald had one player ready to prove any doubters wrong.
“I want to show the people who picked the conference outcome that we are not a bottom two team,” Parker Collins said. “We can be near the top or at the top.”