The Trojans men’s hoopsters are back in full force with a new team and a new head coach. Trojans Coach John Toomer is tired of waiting and says his “team is ready to start playing games.”
The team saw its first action against Bonanza High School on Tuesday, which was too late to report.
Toomer took over from Brian Hayes who had coached the Trojans for the past two seasons and said it was too much for him to coach both the basketball and the baseball teams at Pahrump Valley High School.
Last season Toomer coached the freshman squad.
“I coached at the high school level for about 10 years, then I did the middle school for a few years and last year I came back up and did the B team. I have been around it a long time,” the coach said.
Toomer plans on not changing too many things around. He said he plans on staying pretty much with the same system the team used last year and plans on adding his own twists to it.
“The reason I am sticking with it is because it is the same offense I ran years ago,” he said. “I love it when they run it correctly and execute it well. We definitely need to work the ball in and then out with the ball. We also need to go into the big guys and come out for open shots. It’s just a lot of quick movement and quick passes. It’s a great offense when they run it.”
Hayes has always said the basketball IQ of the team was low, which is the core knowledge of the sport. When asked how the IQ has improved the new coach replied, “Kids today, don’t get into it like years ago. When we were kids we were playing basketball from the time we could walk so we learned all those fundamentals and we learned all those things. Today, it’s not that important for them. The basketball IQ for the team is getting better. The kids coming out this year are a step ahead from years before. I think the middle school staff will help us out. I think they will get those fundamentals down, so that when they come to us we can work on other things.”
This year the team has five returning players who played last year on the varsity squad: Brandon Hastings, Rudy Uresti, Jesse Crain, Devon Montgomery and Dmon Cotton.
The team has yet to choose a point guard. When Hayes was coaching he was looking to use Jesse Crain, but Toomer said this option is out.
“Our point guard will be determined sometime after the first game. We are working with two guys. Crain was a good candidate, but he bowed out of the job. He came up to me during practice and told me he does not want to play point.”
As far as big men that can replace Adam Brand from last year who was 6 feet 5 inches, the team has a lot to choose from. Toomer likes Devon Montgomery.
“Montgomery can jump out of the gym,” he said. He also likes Brandon Hastings, Jason Runnion and James Broadhead. He likes Broadhead “because he has a decent outside shot for a big guy.” All of these players are in the 6 foot 3 inch range with Runnion being in the 6 foot 5 inch category.
At the beginning of the season, all coaches will say their teams will compete and Toomer is no different. He knows what he is facing. Last year the team was 1-9 in league and 5-21 overall. Cheyenne, Clark and Faith Lutheran dominated the floor with height. Toomer feels his team will be the smallest in size out there.
“We will try to compete against the big schools in our league. We are going through a building process. The seniors are working really hard. We are really working hard on making the other team turn it over. The hard part is trying to practice with our team alone. It’s kind of tough to get that game time experience against yourself. I am liking what I am seeing so far. Now I need to see it in competition to see where we really are,” he said.
Senior Devon Montgomery says he is very confident this year.
“The practices are going really well. From what I have seen so far things are going better than last year. The system may have stayed the same, but we run it more efficiently now. We also have some new people and they jumped right into it and are just about at the same level as the returners are,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery said his personal goal is to dunk during a game. He said he can do this during practice and jump 131 inches. At 6 foot 1 inch this means getting some major air. His other goal is to achieve a triple double during the season. A triple double is when you record three double-digit stats. A common one is when someone does this in assists, points and rebounds. For example, 12 assists, 20 points and 14 rebounds.