Sacred Heart High School boys basketball coach Kevin Nash has learned something about coaching a very young team a year after graduating eight players.
To properly prepare for the season, he has to work just as hard as his new players. Things won't come as easily as they did to last year's senior-laden roster.
"It spoils you a bit," said Nash, who is gearing up for his third season as the Lions' coach. "It's a lot more work correcting smaller things. But, the excitement is higher when things are done well."
Sacred Heart returns just one starter and not much else from a team that made a surprise run to the South Jersey Non-Public B semifinals last winter. The 10th-seeded Lions upset No. 2 Timothy Christian in the quarterfinals before losing in the semifinals to perennial power Trenton Catholic.
Now, the Lions are back to the drawing board.
Much responsibility falls on Sacred Heart's senior captain, Khyle Lee-Williams. Nash calls on Lee-Williams, a 6-foot forward, to set the tone at practices, be a vocal leader and bring experience to the excited young squad.
Sacred Heart is rebuilding, as are several other teams in the CAL United Division. The Lions are working extremely hard in the preseason and expect to be in the mix for a CAL playoff tournament berth.
"It's a high energy group, and they're very supportive of each other," Nash said.
Contact Brittany Grugan:
League: Cape-Atlantic League United
Group: South Jersey Non-Public B
Coach: Kevin Nash (22-25, third season)
2011-12 Record: 14-14
2012-13 Prediction: Rebuilding
Key Players: Khyle Lee-Williams, Jr., 6-0, F; Michael Holloway, So., 6-6, C.
Top Newcomers: Tyler Lunsford, Fr., 5-8, G; Steven Tobolski, So., 5-9 G; Christopher Buirch, Jr., 6-2, G; Themba Lungu, Jr., 5-7, G.
Dec. 14: vs. Wildwood Catholic, 7 p.m.
Dec. 15: vs. Haddonfield, 2 p.m.
Dec. 17: at Atlantic County Institute of Technology, 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 20: at Pleasantville, 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 29: at Archbishop Wood, 4 p.m.
Jan. 3: vs. St. Joseph, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 5: vs. Vineland, 7 p.m.
Jan. 7: vs. Cape May Tech, 7 p.m.
Jan. 10: vs. Buena Regional, 7 p.m.
Jan. 12: vs. Cherry Hill West, 12:30 p.m.
Jan. 19: at Ocean City, 6 p.m.
Jan. 21: vs. Pennsauken, 1 p.m.
Jan. 22: at Wildwood Catholic, 7 p.m.
Jan. 28: vs. Pleasantville, 7 p.m.
Jan. 31: at St. Joseph, 7 p.m.
Feb. 4: at Cape May Tech, 7 p.m.
Feb. 6: at Buena Regional, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 25: at Millville, 4 p.m.