Much of how a team is going to play atop the hardwood is decided months before the season starts. Speed, strength and conditioning are the main focus of summer programs for high school boys basketball teams.
By the time off-season camps wrap up, and well before the first winter practice, players should be close to game shape. What’s left is implementing offensive and defensive schemes.
But those won’t matter unless players do the work during the summer months.
“The challenge for the summer is for the kids to get adjusted to playing with each other,” said first-year Patterson coach Brian DeLaPorte. “Although many of the players have played with each other in the past, a new year means new teammates and a new team.”
Since taking the head coaching position on May 15, DeLaPorte has turned his attention to maintaining Patterson’s burgeoning ascent to perennial playoff contender.
After a three-year absence, the Tigers advanced to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs in back-to-back seasons, including the first postseason boys basketball game played at Patterson High since 2008.
During the 2012-13 campaign, Patterson fell short of a section title, losing 53-47 to Casa Roble High in the second round of the Division III playoffs in Orangevale, and finished with a 22-7 season record.
The Tigers’ offseason has a full schedule of weekly practices and games, including numerous summer tournaments and a summer basketball camp at Modesto Junior College.
“We practice or play Tuesday through Thursday throughout the month of June,” DeLaPorte said.
With several returning athletes and increased depth expected on next season’s Patterson squad, DeLaPorte thinks the Tigers can be at the top level of the WAC for another run at section glory.
So it’s no surprise the team’s summer program has seen a participation increase.
“So far, our attendance has been around 90 to 95 percent (of the returning athletes) throughout the month of June,” DeLaPorte said. “Nothing is mandatory. But the players understand and know that if I am in the gym working hard, they’re also expected to be there in the gym working hard.”
The most important element at this point is making sure all the players appreciate the consistent effort required to succeed at the varsity level, DeLaPorte said.
Even though the team isn’t required to train during the summer, several returning members — including Jordan Dinu, Jordan Levu, Kevin Phelps, Justin Rodriguez, Michael Smith, Avion Warmsley and Cariaun Williams — and several newcomers are doing just that.
“We want to develop into the type of program that is competitive year in and year out,” DeLaPorte said. “I’m looking forward to seeing how these athletes come together, but also to seeing how we do against competition we face this summer.”
Many Patterson High basketball players also compete on the Amateur Athletic Union club circuit in the spring and late summer, so they can be seen by college recruiters. As a result, June and July are the primary offseason times coaches have to work with their team.
DeLaPorte has taken these opportunities to watch his athletes play extended minutes as they try to improve their chances of making the varsity squad.
“The opportunity to come in and pick up where the team left off from last year is something that I am really looking forward to,” DeLaPorte said.
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or firstname.lastname@example.org.