GREENVILLE – The Greenville boys basketball team will start a new era this season with Kyle Joseph taking over as the head coach of the Green Wave.
Joseph is pleased with the progress his team has made but knows the Wave have to continue to improve to compete in the Greater Western Ohio Conference.
“We had a very productive fall with the guys who didn’t play a fall sport, and then those fall sport athletes have done a great job of coming in and getting caught up,” Joseph said. “So I am very happy with where we are at, and I’m very fortunate to have a great group of guys to work with. That being said we have a lot of work to do to be ready for Dec. 2nd.”
Joseph inherits a team that lost four seniors to graduation: Codi Byrd, Chris Force, Clay Guillozet and Yuta Nakamura. Guillozet, Greenville’s all-time leading scorer, led the entire GWOC with 23.3 points per game during the 2015-16 season and was named the GWOC North boys basketball player of the year.
While there’s a lot of talent that needs to be replaced, Greenville has a lot of talent coming back, too, with five seniors who previously played varsity ball.
Isaiah Gable returns for his fourth season of varsity basketball. He was named second team all-GWOC North last year after averaging 19.0 points per game and a team-leading 6.7 rebounds per game.
Aaron Rich is entering his third season of varsity basketball. He was named special mention all-GWOC North a year ago following a season in which he averaged 10.2 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.
Devin Hendrix also was a starter last year for the Wave and averaged 4.5 points a game and a team-leading 3.2 assists a game.
Peter Pandey and Trae Wood also made some starts last year for Greenville. Pandey averaged 4.6 points per game while Wood averaged 3.3 points a game.
Even though Greenville has several players who have started before, Joseph isn’t ready to hand anyone a spot in the starting lineup.
“We have a lot of talent and a lot of upper classmen so we are still working through that,” he said. “I’m not worried about who starts or comes off the bench because I know I have a great group of kids that are going to play hard regardless.”
Greenville will have several players ready to compete for minutes including senior Daniel Harper, senior Kyle Phillips, junior Will Coomer, junior Kyle Mills, junior Jordan Preston, junior Noah Vanhorn and freshman Marcus Wood.
“I think that our depth is our biggest strength,” Joseph said. “We have a lot of guys who can play, and I can sub without there being a drop off in production. Because of that we want to really pressure the ball and run the floor hard and our depth is going to allow us to play Greenville basketball for 32 minutes every night.”
On defense Greenville wants to play hard-nose, pressure man-to-man defense. On offense the Wave will look to feed off their defense by getting out and running after defensive stops.
“We have a lot of guys who can make plays so I want to give them the freedom to go out there and make plays,” Joseph said.
Being the first year in the new system the Green Wave still are adapting.
“With this being my first season, everything is brand new for my guys so we just have to keep working and getting in the habit of playing as hard as you can for a few minutes at a time and then trusting your teammates to do the same thing,” Joseph said.
Even though they’re still learning, Joseph hopes his team can contend for a division championship.
“I think regardless of how much talent you have or how many guys you have back every year priority No. 1 has to be trying to compete and win the American North,” he said. “And for us I think if we can just focus on getting better every day and playing for each other then come February we will be in a good spot.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.