By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– It was a summer of ups and downs for the McKay Boys Basketball team.
And despite finishing exactly .500 in summer league after starting 5-1, Head Coach Dean Sanderson is pleased with how his team has showcased their talent during the summer training season.
“We showed at times we can compete with really good teams,” said Sanderson. “We also have the best talent we’ve had in 3 years. We are deep and everybody will have to compete for minutes next year which is a great thing. We are also athletic and shoot the ball better than any group I’ve had at McKay.”
Kids like Drioji Joel, Andre Tovar, Khyler Beach, Israel Garza, David Kovalinko, Ryan Bangs and so on and so forth, Sanderson knows that this young nucleus he has entering the regular season is helpful moving forward.
“That group has worked extremely hard, whether it was basketball or other spring sports,” said Sanderson. “None of them are seniors which is good for future years, but we would love for some of our seniors to step up and lead for this season.”
The good thing about the summer is the fact you get to see where you can improve on when November rolls around.
Kind of spark notes during a class, summer basketball gives you that opportunity to focus on when practice starts up again.
For Sanderson’s crew, Sanderson points out leadership and maturity and he explains that it’s just part of the culture change that he’s trying to help change with the program.
“Right now we play really hard when we are winning or things are going well. When we are losing or we are struggling, we don’t play as hard,” said Sanderson. “Kids show their frustrations in negative ways and we don’t have any vocal leaders who will ride the ship.
“From my experience, for us to meet our potential as a team that has to change. We are fighting a losing mentality right now where we expect bad things to happen. We are all working to change that.”
As the season wrapped up a few days ago, the Royal Scots traveled to Pullman, Washington for the Washington State University Camp where they camped and grew as a team.
“(The) Washington State camp was great kids got to hang out and grow closer as a team,” said Sanderson. “It was cool to play in their facilities and compete against teams outside of our state. It’s always fun to see how kids react to something off the floor.
“I’m looking forward to November. This group is as challenging of a team as I’ve experienced at McKay. They are talented enough to compete with anyone in our league, but in order for that to happen we will have to take a huge step forward in terms of mental toughness, unselfishness and maturity.”
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