Okoboji Boys Basketball

Wednesday, November 27, 2013
The 2013-14 Okoboji boys basketball team (front, from left): Jakob Fritsch, Jake Dodge, Alex Heller, Braxton Malchow, Ben Meyer and Houston Hawkins, (back): Tyeson Barnett, Ben DeMuth, Holt Hunziker, Brett Barthman and Joe Delaney. The Pioneers are coached by Ryan Paulsen, Eric Thompson, Eli Groenendyk and John Adams.

Q&A with Coach Paulsen

1. What are the main differences between this year's team and last year's team?

"This team is very different from last year's. This team is not as big up front, but I think our overall length and athleticism across the board is a little better. I think we'll be able to play a little quicker this year as well."

2. Where do your strengths lie this year?

"Our biggest strength this year needs to be our ability to play together. We have to defend and rebound as one unit and offensively, we have to cut hard and screen for each other. We need to share the basketball. If we can do these things consistently, I like what we can become. I expect guard play to be a strength for us as two of our returners from last year saw a great deal of varsity minutes in the back-court. I also think our ability to get out transition should be something we can do well."

3. Where do you see the team needing to improve?

"We need to be able to prove that we can rebound the ball consistently on the defensive side of the ball. Transition offense starts with defensive rebounding so if we have any hope to push the ball in transition -- we must collectively rebound the ball. We are also going to have to be very fundamental in how we guard in the half-court -- especially in the block due to our lack of depth."

4. Who are your key returning players?

NameGradePosition2012-13 Honors
Alex Heller 10 PG4 PPG, 2.4 APGm 1.2 SPG
Ben DeMuth 12 F2.4 PPG
Holt Hunziker 11 G/F4.3 PPG, 2.4 RPG

5. Do you have any promising newcomers in the mix?

Tyeson Barnett 12 F
Brett Barthman 12 F
Ben Meyer 12 G
Jacob Dodge 10 G/F

6. Size up your conference this year.

"Our league is the best boys basketball conference in Iowa. It will be extremely tough again this year. I would imagine West Lyon and Sioux Center would be picked as the favorites -- given the number of returning players off last year's teams they had. MOC-FV and Boyden-Hull are always good. Central Lyon will be good. Rock Valley has the best scorer in the league. You must show up to play every night because you will get beat if you don't. If we can make steady progress throughout the year and try to get better everyday, with the personnel we have -- I like our ability to be in the mix with the teams in our conference. I like the guys we have; they work incredibly hard."

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