One thing is easily apparent in watching the Frankfort boys’ basketball team practice: the athleticism on this team is through the roof.
It only took a couple of drills at the beginning of Monday’s practice for it to shine through, as no fewer than four players consistently threw down dunks and – during a full-court fast-break drill – raced up and down the sideline at a blazing pace.
All that speed is one major reason why Frankfort should be ranked in the preseason top-10 in Class 3A. As teams throughout the state of Indiana began practice on Monday, the Hot Dogs enter the season with sky-high expectations after making it to the regional championship game last year.
While the goals sit there, it’s making sure that the Hot Dogs play up to those capabilities that second-year head coach Tom Weeks has to deal with.
“To be able to actually do it is a whole thing entirely,” Weeks said. “What we’ve got to do is maintain focus on the little things, doing the things we can control, working hard and playing hard and doing everything we can to be a better team. Taking everything one step and breaking it down one thing at a time. That’s how you get better and focus faster.”
Weeks also has the task of mixing in a pair of transfers in Isaac Rudd from Clinton Central and Nathan Wissman from Harrison. Rudd has played with the team the entire summer while Wissman wasn’t cleared to play by the Indiana High School Athletic Association until the fall.
Both players also add to that whole athleticism thing Frankfort’s got going, as the Hot Dogs may just try to run every opponent out of the gym this season.
“It’s about five guys working together on the floor and things change that way,” Weeks said. “Anybody that’s coming in new wants to fit in more than anybody else. They want to make sure they’re doing the right things. They’ve got to learn the system. When you’re bringing in new guys, whether it’s a freshman or a transfer, it’s about doing the same thing you’ve always done and make sure you have five guys doing things right.”
Tryouts and cuts will come swiftly for Weeks. With 24 players out for junior varsity and varsity, Weeks made cuts following Tuesday’s practice. There are also 16 players signed up for the freshman team, and he’ll have to pare down that roster as well before they kick off.
Today is when practice will really take off, Weeks said.
“You’ve got to set the tone for how hard you’re going to work for an entire season,” Weeks said. “(Monday and Tuesday) are hard because you’re looking more and not trying to break everyone down, so it’s a little slower pace and not highly intense as when we’ll get set. Wednesday we’ll pick up the intensity.”
Frankfort is coming off what Weeks called a successful summer. The team also held open gyms throughout the fall.
“Young men are coming out, dedicated and working hard,” Weeks said. “We felt like we made some strides this summer. Things are headed in a positive direction somewhere.”
Rossville kicks off season
Rossville didn’t have a late postseason run like Frankfort did to springboard it into the 2012-13 campaign, but this year’s Hornet squad is one that could be worthy of a top-10 ranking in Class A sooner before later.
With all five starters returning from a team that went 10-12 last season, coupled with a promising summer, the Hornets could emerge as one of the more surprising teams in the Greater Lafayette area.
“I told them it’s going to be up to you guys what kind of season we have,” said Rossville head coach Dave Mosson. “The potential’s there. We’re not real big but we got a little height, probably in the wrong spots. We can shoot the ball pretty well in a lot of different spots. It’s going to be up to them how hard they want to work, how hard they want to play together and accept their roles. We can have a real nice season if we play together.”
It was an active first day of practice for Mosson and the Hornets. He installed new drills he picked up over the summer and in the fall, and the team also spent time installing a new fast-break offense.
“It was ragged in spots but I thought we played hard, which I always want us to do,” Mosson said.
The Hornets return four full-time starters from last year and a fifth that was a spot starter. That, combined with a solid summer and fall, gives the Hornets optimism for the coming season as well.
“We can pick up where we left off and do a few more things we normally didn’t do last year,” Mosson said. “We’re way ahead of where we were last year at this time.
“We played pretty well at Purdue and Terre Haute.”
Mosson said he wasn’t sure if he had to cut any players or not. For the first three days of practice, Rossville will work on fundamentals and establishing a defensive identity – putting in a press defense and a zone in preparation for a scrimmage a week from Saturday.
“(The press) will be effective because of our wingspan,” Mosson said.