The Cedar Creek High School boys basketball team will see plenty of new faces this winter.
Only two players with varsity experience return for the Pirates - seniors Jacob Knight and John Newman. Of the 19-player roster, 10 are completely new to the program.
"It's starting fresh right from the beginning," Cedar Creek coach Phil Schaffer said. "We need to work on our fundamentals and preach our philosophy."
Knight and Newman will play a big role in training the new Pirates. Schaffer hopes they can teach by example on how to approach each game.
Knight was a key contributor for the Pirates as a junior. The 6-4 forward averaged 12.8 points.
His role will be even more vital this year.
"Hopefully he'll draw some attention and open up some of the younger guys to make some big shots for us."
One notable newcomer to is sophomore Louis Pitale, a transfer from St. Joseph.
Pitale, whom Schaffer said has brought a real spark to the team, will be the Pirates' point guard.
With so many new players, Cedar Creek's focus is on constant improvement and taking things day-by-day.
"We can't look into February and worry about state seeding," Schaffer said. "Our goal is to get better every day."
League: Cape-Atlantic League United
Group: South Jersey Group II
Coach: Phil Schaffer (18-31, two seasons)
2012-13 record: 13-12
2013-14 prediction: Rebuilding – The Pirates bring back just two players with any varsity experience.
Key players: Jacob Knight, Sr., F, 6-4; John Newman, Sr.,
Top newcomers: Louis Pitale, So., G; Michael Gaines, So., G; Lavelle Davis, So., G; Jalil Burrell, Jr., 5-11.