The Miami High School Boys Basketball team prepared for another season with a successful trip to the University of Kansas’ Bill Self team camp last weekend.
The camp wrapped up a busy summer schedule for the Wardogs, one which included roughly 30 games in the month of June alone.
Coach Rusty Mercer was pleased with what he saw from his team in Lawrence.
“We had a good camp and a really good summer in general,” Mercer said. “It’s always a good experience to get away with your team. It helps teams bond and you get to see a variety of different styles of play in a short amount of time.”
The Wardogs went 5-2 over three days and had no trouble putting points on the board, beating Osowatomie 71-55 and dropping Valley Kings 65-38 on Saturday.
The camp featured full court action from across the country, bringing teams in from Colorado, Ohio, Kansas, Missouri and many other states.
“When you go to a new team camp, you benefit from seeing a variety of styles,” Mercer said. “You see teams that play fast, slow, big and small, it runs the gamut.”
With summer competition complete, Mercer can turn his attention to the drawing board, where he will address the changes in his roster.
The Wardogs lost two key players at the post position last year when Garret Castor and Chris Osborn graduated. The story of the summer has been about figuring out how to put the new team back together.
“This gives me an idea of what we are going to look like personnel-wise,” Mercer said. “We’ll be pretty similar to last year, but with less depth at the post position. We’ll run a lot of the same post plays but there will be times due to substitutions or foul trouble when we’ll be smaller on the court. That’s when we’ll change it up on offense.”
A smaller lineup means the Wardogs will need speed. Transition and fast break points become the name of the game.
“There’s no question we’ll be fast enough for that,” Mercer said. “Our guards are back and they’re as good as anybody’s.”
Mercer was hesitant to release information about individual performances over the summer, but his broad impression of the team seemed optimistic.
“I expected some returning guys to come up to a different level and I thought they did,” he said. “You expect the new guys to have a bit of a learning curve and I think that happened, too. I would have been surprised if it were any different.”
The waning days of summer will be spent in the weight room, as players arrive for open gym at 9 a.m. during the week.