The Troy High School boys basketball team is boasting a deeper bench this season, with 22 players filling out the roster.
But with the influx of players comes the challenge of molding them into a team for new Head Coach Justin Young.
Young, who coached the Lady Trojans for five years, said he is looking forward to coaching the boys after swapping with Bradley Dunn-meier.
He is especially looking forward to the strong competition they will face in the Western B Division, he said.
“From top to bottom, it’s good basketball,” he said. “Our boys definitely have some hills to climb and some challenges to face.”
Young said they are using a continuity offense that is also new to him.
Between the competition the Trojans will face and the physicality of his players, Young said he wanted a strategy that would help to slow the game down a little.
“I mean, we’re athletic, but size-wise, with the teams we face, I don’t think we’re going to be able to do 32 minutes of run-and-gun,” he said.
The Trojans have some work to do on their mental game, including just developing their personal and team confidence, Young said. Some of that is just the players who haven’t played together as much in the past building familiarity.
But, there’s also a lot of mental game in their offense, he said. “It’s not a complex offense, but we’re constantly moving, and it’s a little bit more thinking on their feet than probably what they were used to.”
Young said he expects that the team will need to grow into their new offense, and it may be mid-season before they are completely comfortable with running it.
As to personal confidence, Young said he understands that past losses can leave the boys discouraged. Still, he thinks they underestimate their capabilities.
Young gave senior Alex Freund as an example.
“He’s only 5’10”, but the way he hustles and works, gosh, if he was 6’4”, he would be getting recruited by division one scouts,” he said. “He’s just a strong kid, and that’s the kind of mentality we’re going to have to have on defense, is just scrap.”
But Young said he is looking forward to working with his team regardless how every game goes. Having coached the boys at lower grade levels, he spoke highly of the current high school team.
“I would say they are probably the best character-driven kids I’ve ever coached, and that makes every single practice fun,” he said. “Whatever happens this season, it’s going to be a fun season, just because those guys are such good people, and when you’re around good people, just, good times happen.”
The Trojans will have their first game of the season at home against Superior on Thursday, with the first game at 3 p.m. at the Troy Activity Center.