John Miller has coached a lot of basketball, and he had three words to describe his Atlantic County Institute of Technology boys team.
"We're young, athletic and inexperienced," Miller said.
ACIT is in its first year as a varsity program, and Miller said only two had any kind of organized experience with a junior-varsity or freshman team.
"You're teaching every play," he said. "You're teaching everything. You can't just snap the fingers and say, 'Go do it.' "
Miller himself has plenty of experience, though. Over the past 20 years, he has been head coach of the Cumberland Regional boys team and the Burlington County College women, and an assistant for the St. Joseph girls.
He has plenty to work with at ACIT. The Red Hawks' entire starting five is 6-foot or taller, and they are athletic. Junior Ahmad Sheppard-Sloan, a 6-foot-2 guard/forward, averaged 10 points per game last year playing junior varsity.
"He's been a leader on the floor all year, all summer," Miller said. "He brings a lot to the table. He's a good kid, 4.0 GPA. He's just a leader. In another year, he's going to be one of the top 10 players in the Cape-Atlantic (League). There's no doubt about that."
Miller said he expects to be competitive in every game in the CAL United Conference.
"Our goal is to win double-digit games," he said.
Contact Jason Mazda:
League: Cape-Atlantic League United Conference
Group: South Jersey Group II
Coach: John Miller (first season)
2011-12 record: First year as varsity
2012-13 prediction: Building - ACIT has talent, but it's raw. Look for the Red Hawks to get better as the season goes on.
Key players: Ahmad Sheppard-Sloan, Jr., F, 6-2; Nile White, Jr., G, 6-2; Will Atkins, So., C, 6-5; Isaiah Bell, Jr., G, 5-9; Marcus Watson, Fr., C, 6-4; Jiquan Cooper, Fr., G, 5-9.
Top newcomers: Jay Alvaredo, Sr., F, 5-9; Damon Collins, So., G, 5-8; Matt Marmaro, So., F, 6-2; Emmanuel Arrache, Sr., F, 5-9.
Dec. 14: vs. Cape May Tech, 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 17: at Sacred Heart, 7 p.m.
Dec. 20: at Cedar Creek, 7 p.m.
Dec. 29: vs. Vineland at Wildwoods Convention Center, 11 a.m.
Dec. 30: vs. TBD at Wildwoods Convention Center, time TBA Jan. 2: vs. Wildwood, 6 p.m.
Jan. 3: vs. Buena Regional, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 7: vs. Wildwood Catholic, 7 p.m.
Jan. 8: vs. Camden Catholic, 4 p.m.
Jan. 10: at St. Joseph, 7 p.m.
Jan. 14: at Pleasantville, 7 p.m.
Jan. 16: vs. Sacred Heart, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 17: at Rubin Wishkin, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 22: at Cumberland Regional, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 25: at Cape May Tech, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 28: vs. Cedar Creek, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 31: at Buena Regional, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 1: vs. Pennsauken Tech, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 7: vs. St. Joseph, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 9: at Audubon, noon
Feb. 11: vs. Pleasantville, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 12: at Pennsville, 5:30 p.m.