Reed struggled to a 4-16 record overall and 3-9 mark in High Desert League play. Third-year Reed coach Dustin Hall says last year’s struggles have him more determined than ever to get the RHS crew back to respectability.
“Even when you think you’ve done everything you can as a coach, you can always do more,” Hall said. “You can always watch more film. You can always game plan harder and better. You can always push your kids harder. I definitely learned a lot last year and I feel like I’m a better coach now than I was a year ago. I’m hoping the time we all put in is going to pay off.”
Going into last season, Hall would have never guessed the Raiders would struggle as much as they did. The season became taxing mentally as Reed lost close game after close game.
“Last year we learned a lot. I learned a lot about myself and coaching, about not to take anything for granted,” Hall said. “Last year I thought we’d have a pretty good team and then we lost seven games in the last minute. It was one of those seasons where nothing went right. I had to re-evaluate myself as a coach and think about some of the mistakes I’d made along the way. Hopefully, some of the kids sat back and watched how tough it is to win games in this league. There are so many good teams and good coaches. That’s something I took for granted, leading up to last year.”
He’s not taking it for granted this time around. Reed began official practice two weeks ago and Hall said it’s been a growing period.
“Practices have been going pretty well,” he said. “We’ve had some great nights and some not-so-great nights. We’ve been a little inconsistent with our effort and energy night in and night out, but that comes from having a younger, more inexperienced team. When they do show up it’s been great.
“We’re trying to preach constant effort. It’s a process of trying to getter everyday, physically and mentally. Every time we get on the court, we want to force the kids to get better and make each other better every day.”
The Raiders do return six players with varsity experience, but all six played reserve roles a year ago and none saw extensive minutes. Roberto Velazquez, Eric Martinez, Irvin Ma, Dylan Raatz, Gordon Depuy and Kyle Ross comprise that group.
Hall said he’ll need leaders to emerge from that band of returners.
“There has been some kids who have stepped up who are normally comfortable sitting back and being quiet,” the Reed coach said. “We’ve had some good battles with the kids going at each other and pushing each other. There are a lot of kids getting used to having to step up because there’s such a big difference between the freshmen and JV to the varsity level.”
Reed’s top three scorers from last year’s club, Mike Powell, Aaron Greenblat and Taylor Yancey all graduated. That’s a lot of offensive production to replace and Reed coaches admit it.
“We lost a lot of points and that’s always a concern. That’s why we’re spending a lot of time on offensive execution and getting these guys earlier looks,” Hall said. “We’ll probably be a little more balanced this year than last. I feel like we’re doing some good things, guys are learning strengths and getting good looks all over the court.”
While putting the ball in the hole is a legitimate concern, Hall likes what he sees defensively as well as his team’s guard play.
“We have a lot of guard play. We have some guys that are pretty quick with the ball and guys that can defend all over the court,” Hall said. “I think we should be a pretty good with ball handling and ball possession. I definitely think we should have a pretty good defensive team. We should be able to mix it up with some pressure and half-court defense.”
Reed opens its 2010-11 campaign Tuesday in a Northern 4A league crossover game at Douglas. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.