I’LL TAKE THAT — Springville Junior Varsity’s Dalton Nelson goes for the steal, during a recent game. Photo by Dave DeLuca.
SPRINGVILLE — Springville-Griffith Institute boys junior varsity basketball coach Ed Bates wasn’t sure what he was going to get out of Dalton Nelson last season. Nelson, a freshman at the time, was coming off the bench, early in the season. Four games into the year, Nelson scored 13, in a game against Depew.
At the time, Bates called Nelson a “pleasant surprise.” One year later, that player’s success is no longer so surprising.
“Dalton should be our leader,” Bates said, about his sophomore point guard.
“I’m expecting him to provide scoring [and] rebounding, as well as being able to play a lot of different spots. I’m really going to lean on him for a lot. I’m definitely going to need him to handle the ball versus pressure and improvise on offense, a bit.”
Nelson will play a few different positions, including point guard. He is one of a select few players who return on the team, as sophomore Kyle Warner was pulled up to varsity. Nelson teams up with sophomores Collin Dewitt and Parker Rice, as three returnees from last season who saw significant playing time. Dewitt, a guard, is sidelined with an illness, at the moment.
Rice, a forward, was Bates’ starting center last season, when he led the team in rebounding.
“I’m counting on both Parker and Collin Dewitt to provide leadership and scoring, as well,” said Bates.
“Those three are holdovers from last year and I think they’ve done a great job, early on, in emphasizing the commitment that’s needed, for this team to be successful. I’m hoping Collin will be able to return, as soon as possible and provide consistency in the backcourt with Dalton. I am really hoping Parker can use his size inside, on both ends of the floor.”
Newcomers to the team include freshmen Greg Cooney, Johnny Domes and Connor O’Brien. Domes has a 6-foot frame and will play a variety of different positions and contribute on both ends of the floor, noted Bates. Seventh-grade call-up Mason Goodridge will bypass modified and jump straight to junior varsity.
“Mason will see time on the court and is going to develop into a good player,” said his coach.
Springville lost 11 games last season, by a total of 27 points, including six games that were decided by 5 points or fewer.
“I told the kids that it comes down to one or two possessions a game,” said Bates. “We need to focus on eliminating the mistakes on those two possessions, in the critical moments of games. We’re going to make a ton of mistakes, as will most JV teams. Our goal is to not make the same mistakes twice and to eliminate those mental errors that result in the ball being in our basket.”
Bates explained that, due to personnel and injuries early on, he might be forced to play more zone defense, but with some different variations of trapping. In the midst of a team full of new faces, Bates is looking at the big picture.
“I think, at this point in the season, we look at our main goal: to be better in February than we are in November,” he said. “Ideally, I’d like to give [varsity] coach Noeson several kids who know the language and the commitment that it takes to be competitive, at the varsity level.”
Springville opens the season on Dec. 6, at Eden.