PITSBURG – The Franklin Monroe boys basketball team is coming off an 8-17 record last year with a young group, they return a solid nucleus that is looking to improve in 2020-21.
Coach Troy Myers has reason to be optimistic about his team with key players returning; two seniors Aidan Luchini, Cavin Baker and three juniors Ky Cool, Jayce Byers and Gabe Sargent.
“One thing we are excited about is the depth we may be able to have. Last season we were crazy young and inexperienced across the board so we didn’t have the luxury of putting too many players in a competitive varsity game. We have some kids who have impressed in the first couple weeks and hopefully will become consistently reliable. 90+% of all statistical numbers for us return,” Myers stated
Aiden Luchini is a 6’1” senior power forward who could bang inside and step out and knock down the outside shot.
Cavin Baker is a 6’ senior wing who was very strong going to the basket with a capable mid-range game.
Ky Cool is a 5’10” junior point guard who is quick and crafty who can go hard to the rim but also knock down triple.
Jayce Byers is a 5’11” junior guard who can hurt you from the corner or anywhere if he gets hot.
Gabe Sargent is a 5’11” junior forward who is a good rebounder/defender and plays hard every second.
Covid-19 of course comes into play and the coaching staff and players have embraced the challenge and work hard to prepare for the upcoming season.
Coach Myers pondered the pandemic and the effect it has had on the program over the summer and fall.
“The guys have been outstanding with their intent dating back to summer. In the midst of a pandemic the choices they had were limited which was a benefit to our program,” Myers stated.
“Prior to being allowed back in the gym we were regularly using video apps to engage our older returners while also creating a development plan that all of them were completing at home.
Post-quarantine, there was more collective time spent in our gym than in any previous year. That allowed them to build individual skill and conceptual knowledge of the game, which was certainly necessary.
All of them, including coaches, were willing to adhere to protocols in order for us to have the chance to get better. And if you see the unseen, the underlying lesson may have been to improve our willingness, which was below average a year ago.
We have tremendous kids, but the perspective of expectation was skewed and needed to change. Thankfully, the limited choices and change created growth for us in this area and we see evidence of that already this season.” Myers said
Following protocols and putting in the work is necessary to get better and even though the Jets return 90% of their scoring they also had deficiencies that needed shored up as well.
“In one sense that’s encouraging but in another sense it means areas of weakness return also and must improve. Those have been a focal point for us early and I believe there is a collective understanding on what must improve and why. Our assistant coaches, Martin Maksvytis and Daniel Wiseman, have been elite in sharing our message. They have full understanding of our purpose and do a great job committing to it daily. Our “why” each day is clearly defined and we have more people interested in building the brand of our team than we do leaving an individual legacy. Both are important but one always precedes the other,” Myers explained.
The Franklin Monroe coaching staff and players have been working hard on doing things the right way and eager to show that this year.
“We made gradual improvement a year ago but it took us a while before we understood that the right way is the hard way. We were playing our best at the end and won a couple games in the tournament as a lower seed. A taste of what could come if things are done right. You can sense a real hunger in some of the kids now. And I won’t ever count out a group of competitors with a chip on their shoulder,” Myers concluded.
This being the last year of the Cross County Conference the Jet’s would like nothing better than closing it out with a title.