Despite losing last season’s top scorer, Alex Copeland ’15 (25.4 points per game), and top rebounder, Noah Gains ’15 (10.8 points per game), new Head Coach David Rebibo is looking to build on last season’s fourth consecutive quarterfinal loss to Mission Prep.
In Greg Hilliard’s final season last year, the Wolverines finished 14-14 and 4-8 in the Mission League.
With the addition of freshman phenom Cassius Stanley ’19 and Wolfgang Novogratz ’16 returning from injury, the cast of characters on this year’s team will be vastly different, but has the potential to move past the third round barrier that the team has hit four years in a row.
“I love Coach Rebibo’s fast-paced style of play,” Stanley said. “I think it really suits the way that I want to play, and I have great teammates surrounding me, so they have helped me adjust.”
Led by seniors Henry Vogel ’16, David Seo ’16 and Novogratz, the Wolverines have been impressive in their fall league games. In those games, the team gained chemistry prior to the start of the league games.
“This group has grown and developed a lot since the summertime,” Rebibo said. “The potential is there, and how far we go will be determined by how together we come in the next few months.”
Novogratz, a member of the preseason All-Area team, is the highest returning scorer, averaging 18.1 points per game despite only playing in nine games. Ali Iken ’17 averaged 13.5 points.
For a second straight season, height will be a major weakness. Their tallest player, Stanley, is listed at 6’5″ and primarily plays guard.
Ray Mueller ’17 will primarily play defense on the opposing team’s center.
Starters Carter Begel ’17 and Mueller quit football to focus on basketball since they were forced to miss all of preseason training and the beginning of the season last year.
The starting lineup for the beginning of the season is projected to be comprised of Iken, Novogratz, Begel, Stanley and Mueller.
“The upperclassmen have shown me how to be a Harvard-Westlake Wolverine,” Stanley said. “They have shown me what I should and shouldn’t do both on and off the court to succeed.”
The squad will open its season at the Calabasas Tournament.
“Tournaments are a great opportunity to create an identity before Mission League play begins,” Rebibo said. “You can practice all you want, but you find out who you are in tight game situations. These tournaments will provide us with incredible opportunities to learn from each other and learn about each other.”