HALL OF FAME
ATHLETE OF THE MONTH
Execution important to Vikings - HERALD PRESS
November 20, 2012Huntington North High School
Execution important to Vikings
John Dempsey | Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Rob Irwin looks at this season’s Huntington North boys basketball team and sees a team “that should be really fun to watch.”
“I’ve been coaching for 23 years. I was talking to my dad, who has seen all of those teams, and I told him that this is the best shooting team I have ever had,” the first-year Viking mentor said.
“Our strength is that we really shoot well. We have a lot of guys who can make shots. Hopefully, especially against really good teams, we become a really good defensive team. One of the things my teams are known for is that weguardyou night in and night out and win by our defense.”
Irwin says his team trails inthe learning curvecompared to some opponents because he’s still installing his defense and offense.
“We’re going to have the chance to be really good.
“Homestead has had the same coach for 10 years so they’re just repeating what they have been doing,” he said. “Our guys are trying to learn what I want from them. I think we’re doing well.
“We’re starting to guard and play harder. We can really shoot it so that makes up for being slow and still be schooled. Once we get into December and January, I think we’ll be really hard to deal with.”
Seniors Noah Reed, Trenton Kern and Kalvin Miller return from last season’s team which went 5-19. They’ll be joined by juniors Kyle Platt, Matt Hogan and Dylan Harter as possible starters.
Sophomore Caleb Landrum, seniors Austin Garde and Paul Ehler and junior Keaton Irwin will come in off the bench.
“Some nights we’re going to play 10 or 11 guys and others six or eight. It just depends on who we are playing,” the coach said. “We’re practicing with 11 guys but we’ll have to drop a couple down because we don’t want them sitting.
“They know the seniors will play the boatload of minutes. Some of the juniors will have to go down and play some on the B team so they get better for next year. But, they’re going to have to be ready all the time.”
Reed will get the call at the point with Kern and Miller playingforwardspots.
“There will be times we move Noah off the points and let Matt do it so Noah can concentrate on scoring,” Irwin said. “Matt knows it will depend on who we’re playing and he doesn’t care. I think that’s a big thing. Whether they’re starting to or coming off the bench, these guys don’t seem to care who is playing. They just want to win. That’s nice to have.
“Some of them we still need to get ready. Paul Ehler is trying to get his basketball legs. Once he gets into the mix and comfortable, he’ll be a big part of what we do.”
He sees a balanced scoring attack with any one of the senior starters leading the attack.
“These guys will pass up good shots when someone else has a better one,” Irwin said. “It’s hard on a defense when you never know who will make the bucket and take the shot.
“Noah has the best chance to make baskets of all of our guys. He can do some things others can’t do individually. The other guys are good at punching it in and kicking it out.”
Playing smart offensively is going to be important.
“We’re not overly patient because we can shoot it and they’ll take the first shot available,” he said. “We’re talking to them about going inside and getting a touch before we let it fly. What looks like a good shot off one pass may not be a good shot, especially if you don’t make it.
“We’re going to play pressure and run and jump in a way that speeds the game up. The guys who can shoot we’ll let shoot. But, there are going to be teams we play that we have to get the ball reversed.”
That means taking time and taking good shots – and shots their teammates expect.
“We don’t want to put our defense in bad spots. We have to take shots everyone expects and so we can get back on defense. They have to understand for us to win we can’t put ourselves in bad position on the defensive end,” Irwin added.
The biggest area of improvement needs to come with ball handling.
“We’re making too many in practice even. In the videos I saw, we made a lot of turnovers last year,” the coach noted. “We’re trying to make sure we don’t make a lot of them, especially in a position where we can’t get back on defense. If we do it where the defense can get back, that’s better.
“We’re not doing that. Our biggest weakness is that we have to take better care of the ball.”
The schedule is filled with tough opponents, starting with Homestead Wednesday night, and adding in teams like Warsaw, Columbia City and the North Central Conference opponents.
“The schedule is ridiculously tough. Homestead lost just two games last season and has all but one player back,” Irwin said. “Columbia City has all five starters back. Carroll is good. If you go down the line, there is a tradition of good basketball teams on the schedule and we aren’t even in the conference.
“We have to make sure that when December and January roll around we have it figured out and we’re really hard to deal with. That’s when we will see what we really will be able to do by the tournament.”