Shady Spring – Greater Beckley boys basketball head coach Justin Arvon didn’t have any schematic goals set for his team during the three week period where coaches are allowed to practice and coach their teams.
Instead he was looking for commitment.
Heading into his season he feels he’s gotten that this summer.
“It’s going pretty well,” Arvon said. “We’ve got a lot of guys playing a lot of basketball between AAU and this period. We’ve got a bunch of shootouts. We’re at Charleston for a shootout on Tuesday, but it’s going well they’re getting moving.”
At nearly every event this summer the Crusaders have had numerous familiar faces take the court for them. That’s exactly what Arvon wanted to see during a period when many families and players are taking their vacations.
“The goal was to secure commitment from guys for the upcoming season,” Arvon said. “I wanted to see who would come to workouts, who would show up to these events if they’re not injured and able. Families are on vacation and different things like that. It’s difficult to get our full group together but I wanted to secure commitment from these guys and hear their goals for the upcoming year. Their goal is to win a title and this is where it starts.”
Kaden Smallwood, the Crusaders’ all-state guard, was absent from Monday’s Shady Spring Shootout due to an ankle injury he sustained on the AAU circuit, but many other familiar faces were there such as Jordan McGinnis, BJ Mitchell and Michael Judy. Still, it’s hard to get a good read on the team the Crusaders will field this winter without all of the pieces together.
“You can’t really get a good read on things,” Arvon said. “It’s more or less just about getting them out here and playing together and learning how to play together. We really haven’t practiced, so it’s more or less just building teamwork and bonding and that kind of thing during this period.”
Still, Arvon’s had enough players show up that he feels he’s secured the commitment he was looking for. He also feels his team’s growing together. After a season that saw the Crusaders struggle with COVID, getting time together on the court can only help. Fortunately there’s already a built in chemistry.
“They all like each other and they’re good friends already,” Arvon said. “It’s a small school and they see each other for nine months straight, but this time off really hurts in terms of team chemistry. Some guys develop bad habits in terms of what they think they can do individually and that kind of leaks out on the floor some, but these guys are playing pretty well together. I enjoy watching it.”
Contact Tyler Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org, call him at 304-731-5542 and follow on Twitter @tjack94