Kansas.com

All Varsity Kansas Stories

2013-14 basketball preview: Goddard

Published Dec. 4 at 12 p.m. | Last updated Dec. 3 at 12:20 p.m.

SCHEDULE

December — 6, at Dodge City; 10, at Derby; 13, Maize South; 17, at Valley Center; 20, Andover.

January — 2-4, TBA at Koch Arena; 7, Maize; 14, at Arkansas City; 17, Eisenhower; 21, Hutchinson; 23-25, at Chanute tournament (B); 30-Feb. 1, at Haven tournament (G).

February — 4, Andover Central; 7, at Maize South; 11, Valley Center; 14, Andover; 21, at Andover Central; 25, Arkansas City; 27, at Eisenhower.

BOYS

Coach: Kyle Taylor, third season

Last season: 3-17

Top players

Tucker Vang, 6-3, sr., F

Maxie Mikel, 6-1, sr., G

Austin Chippeaux, 6-6, so., F

Ryan Norquist, 5-11, sr., G

Corey Dugan, 6-2, sr., F

Jesse Squires, 6-0, jr., G

For Taylor, it’s been a gradual process, even though the results haven’t showed so far.

Taylor wanted to implement fundamentals as the backbone of the program and now, in his third season, he feels like results are near.

“With three returning starters and a transfer that has significant varsity experience, we feel that we have the potential to take a big step forward this year,” Taylor said. “They have been playing varsity since they were sophomores, so we have plenty of experience returning at the varsity level.”

Vang is the Lions’ leading returning scorer. He averaged 11 points and will need to produce even more.

Also back are fellow starters Mikel (6.7 points) and Chippeaux (4.5 points). Goddard also picked up a key transfer in Norquist, who averaged nine points at Buhler.

What will be crucial for the Lions is finding depth behind those four.

“Depth will be an issue for us this year,” Taylor said. “We will lack some size off the bench and we will have to be creative with our defensive strategies when we play against teams with more size.”

Leadership has been a struggle in the past, but Taylor thinks he has the players who can provide those attributes — something that is needed in order for a team to be successful.

“We will look to our five seniors to be great leaders this year and to raise the expectation level for everyone in our program,” Taylor said. “These guys will have to play together and improve every day for us to reach the goals we have for this season.”

GIRLS

Coach: Kevin Hackerott, first season

Last season: 2-18

Top players

Emily Rausch, 5-8, sr., G

Jenna Clasen, 5-9, jr., G

Sam Schwab, 6-1, so., F

Jessica Gardiner, 5-7, so., G

Chandler Hansen, 5-9, so., F

While Hackerott has many responsibilities as a first-year coach, none will be more important than changing the losing culture that has developed for the Lions over the past two seasons, where they went a combined 7-34.

“Changing the culture is a matter of being consistent every day in how we are going about our business both on and off the court,” Hackerott said. “It is said that teams take on the coach’s personality, so it is very important to lead by example as the head coach.”

Hackerott, who coached at Wellington prior to Goddard, is hopeful that his returning experience will get the ball rolling a little faster. The Lions return five starters and most of their bench too. Size will also be a strength as the projected starting lineup is 5-8 or taller.

While Goddard is learning a new system, Hackerott is encouraged that his team already had varsity experience.

“I really like this group, and the time we got to spend together this summer was very helpful in getting to know our abilities and weaknesses,” Hackerott said. “Now we all just have to get better each day and compete in every situation.”

Pushing the tempo is something Hackerott wants the Lions to do. The more possessions the better for Goddard, which scored more than 30 points six times last season.

“I want my kids to play with extreme confidence and be aggressive,” Hackerott said. “We would like to play multiple defenses and put pressure on the opponent.”