Led by Coach Cam, Basketball Cats ready for 2020

photo credit Brad Semancik '23

By Bobby Gerome ‘21

The Wildcats come into this season with four simple goals. These goals are to become better men, defend home court, defeat St. Edward, and win the state championship. These goals are challenging, but the team definitely has the talent and the fresh coaching ability to do it.

Leading the Wildcats this year is new head coach Cam Joyce. Coach Cam enters the Wildcat program with a lot of experience. In the past, he has played high school and college basketball, and has worked at some phenomenal college programs such as Tiffin University, The University of Florida, and Ohio University. His extensive basketball knowledge will help the team go far this season and will give the Wildcats an edge in close games.

Coach Cam’s plan for success starts with strategy. Starting off Coach will hone in on defense, the team will play an aggressive, man to man, half court defense. Further explaining his defensive approach, Coach Cam said: “We’re going to press and do some different things, but at the core, we’re going to be really good defensively in the half court because that’s where
the game is played,” Joyce said.

The defense will be great this year, but everyone knows that in order to win, the team has to score. The offensive strategy this year is to play with the right pace and control the game. With this pace, the Wildcats will not be afraid to take open shots and find quick ways to get to the basket.

“We want to play fast offensively. But we won’t run up and down the court every play,” Joyce explains. “We’re going to play at a good pace. If we’re able to play with a good pace, we can play fast or slow.”

The coaching and game plan will help the Wildcats a lot this year, but success is also measured by the amount of talent that is present on a team. The basketball team this year is loaded with both young talent, and talented returning seniors. The team from last season only graduated five players, and many of the familiar faces from last year’s squad will be coming back this year.

The senior class, especially, has a lot of returning talent. Three senior guards that will shine this year are Daniel Nunez, Student Senate Vice President Caleb Blake, and Chase Toppin, who started for the varsity team last year and is getting Division I looks. The three other seniors to look out for this year are Tommy Spear, Griffin Hanna, and Micah Anglin. The senior class is fantastic, but the underclassmen on this team are also something for opponents to fear. The junior class is stacked with forwards, leading the way is returning starter Henry Raynor, who can dominate in the paint and shoot the deep ball. Other junior forwards to look for are Will Yontek, Nick Lamirand, and Aidan Hubbard. A couple of junior guards that opponents should not look over are Emmett Hanna, Mike Mattimore, and Declan Mangan. The young core of this team does not end there, three sophomores will make an impact on this already loaded roster. These sophomores are CJ Yarian, Shondo Green, and Jonathan Effertz, who was a great varsity player as a sophomore.

The season is already in full swing, as the team heads into the Christmas break with a 3-1 record, including wins over Richmond Heights, John Marshall, and Maple Heights. There are plenty of big games on the schedule include home tilts with St. Ed’s (1/10), VASJ (2/1), and St. John’s Jesuit (2/22). The ‘Cats head into Lakewood for the second half of their rivalry series on February 7th. The guys will also work on their tans while traveling to Belen Jesuit in Miami for a slate of games in early January. The next home game is this Friday as the ‘Cats host McKinley in Sullivan Gym.