Boys’ basketball implements new offensive game plan

The four out, one in offense allowed last year’s boys’ basketball team to be CIF contenders. The Wolverines’ 2012-2013 campaign will feature a new offense based around spreading the floor and creating scoring opportunities off of point guard isolations and dribble penetration.

Head Coach Greg Hilliard implemented the new offense this past summer as an adjustment to the team’s strengths and weaknesses, which he cited as more depth at the lead guard positions and less depth in the paint.

“We’ve had the luxury of having some very big guys in the last few years,” Hilliard said. “We had Zena [Edosomwan ’12] in the middle, and we had big Josh [Hearlihy ’12] and before that Damiene [Cain ’11]. We’ve been running things to get the ball inside first, and now we just don’t have that presence, that dominant force inside. We’ve become more guard-oriented, so we’ve adjusted our offense. It’s still a motion offense — which means not running set plays, but making reads — but it’s all oriented to the guards getting penetration.”

While last year’s offense was focused around the paint area, the new offense will have less of a focus in the post.

“The return of [6’9’’] Dave Winfield ’13 to help obviously gives us somewhat of a presence inside,” Hilliard said. “We still have a lot of options and plays to use if we get him healthy.”

Winfield fractured his right kneecap in April, but is set to return at the beginning of the season.

“If we go small, we have to take advantage of our quickness, our speed, and our aggressiveness.”

Hilliard modeled the new system after University of Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari’s dribble drive motion offense, which has featured former Wildcat point guards John Wall and Brandon Knight.

Starting point guard Mike Sheng ’14 will facilitate the new offense for the Wolverines this season. With increased playmaking responsibilities, Sheng said he will need more of an attacking mindset with the ball.

“I’m going to have to be more aggressive in trying to score,” Sheng said. “I’m not necessarily going to be scoring — I’ll also be looking for teammates — but I’m definitely going to be attacking a lot more.”

The team tested the new offense in summer league games and adjusted to the new style of attack, Sheng said.

“It’s really our team’s natural style of play,” Sheng said. “When the coaches let us go out and play with the five we have out there, that’s what we naturally did — spread the floor, penetrate and kick out for threes.”

“We’ve adjusted well,” shooting guard Francis Hyde ’13 said. “We’ll work out the kinks, but I think once we get it, it’ll behoove our offense and we’ll be able to run it to perfection.”

With the smooth transition, the players will be looking to go deep in CIF playoffs.

“I’m very confident [in our team],” Hyde said, “I think we’re going to be good and I think we should get far.”

The team was bounced last year after losing to Serra 62-50 in the CIF Quarterfinals.

The Wolverines will open the season with a scrimmage at Valencia on Nov. 19, followed by a tournament at Torrance High School every day from Nov. 26 to Dec. 1.

Mission League play will begin with a game at Crespi on Jan. 4.

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