Whitman Hanson High boys’ basketball team fills new roles
The first Monday after Thanksgiving means a very special time for high schools across the state, Whitman-Hanson Regional High School in particular.
This means Bob Rodgers’ basketball express goes off to fly around the track once again. This time around, however, there are new faces in the driver’s seat for the Panthers basketball team.
Where is last season’s 6-2 Patriot League MVP Nate Amado, who averaged over 24 points and nine rebounds per game, you ask? He is entering his first year at Babson College.
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Well, what about the triple Enterprise All-Scholastic who filled the stat sheet with 13.6 points, 9.1 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game last year? Check the University of Suffolk men’s basketball roster. You will find Cole LeVangie’s name.
What’s left for WH coach Bob Rodgers is a pair of his four Enterprise All-Scholastics from a season ago, a distinct style of play and a 35-game winning streak that he’s not. not necessarily anxious to extend.
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“Obviously everyone knows that when you lose players of Cole and Nate’s caliber that’s a huge hole to fill, but I’m happy to coach these guys. They want to make a statement, ”Rodgers said after his team’s first practice of the season.
WH’s two returning All-Scholastics, Amari Jamison and Ryan Vallancourt, will start as two guards and there’s a lot of praise to be made for the two cohesive backcourt mates.
“I see a lot of confidence. We’ve all been playing together for a while, whether it’s AAU or whatever, “Jamison said of the roster.” There’s a lot of confidence, a lot of chemistry, so I think that should be fine. “
“Amari, obviously, is one of the best players in Division 2 and I trust all of our guys,” said Vallancourt. “We’ve all been working so hard this offseason, (there’s) a lot of altruistic play.”
Rodgers agreed, saying Jamison is “one of the most dynamic players in the state” and difficult to protect when he dives aggressively into the lane. The 5-11 swingman shot 42% over the arc as a junior last season and Vallancourt was not far behind, shooting 39.4% from range.
“I can’t say enough about his character, number one,” Rodgers de Vallancourt. “He’s a great shooter and it’s like having another coach on the court. He understands what we want, he has been coming to our camps since he was little. It includes the Whitman-Hanson sneaker. I am so lucky to have someone like him.
While the backcourt will be a big chunk of the Panthers’ points this season, perimeter threats Dom Masone and Andrew Guardia will surround the presence of Malcolm Alcorn-Crowder paint on the offensive side. The Panthers, although they are a team with new roles to be defined, can boast of having a senior roster in the crucial moments.
And as always with any of Rodgers’ teams, the firepower flashes in a flexible, high-octane style that ordinary opponents are familiar with.
“I think you’re going to see us play pretty much the same style that we’ve played over the last decade,” Rodgers said. “Try to beat the teams from top to bottom, try to get easy buckets in transition and be able to shoot the bow ball well.
“I think we’re going to be a tough team to face for sure,” Rodgers said.
Driving a 35-game winning streak in the new campaign can serve as an otherworldly high standard to uphold, especially for a team like Whitman-Hanson trying to solidify their identity. But Rodgers splits it into a 23-game winning streak for the 2020 team and a 12-game streak from last year. The two have no business to coexist, the new 2022 team has its own story to write.
“I think the winning streak is a bit absurd, frankly. It’s two different streaks in my mind, ”Rodgers said. “We’ll see what this team does, but I think that stuff becomes distractions.
“I’m not afraid of this first loss,” Rodgers added. “It’s something that’s going to happen at some point and I try to keep the kids out of my mind and focus on doing the little things well and focusing on the things that make us successful. .
For Rodgers, who is also the sporting director of Whitman-Hanson, the outlook for the coming season is very similar to a recent season. Right after the Panthers traveled to TD Garden with a team led by seniors Cole Manning and Josh Rice in 2016, Rodgers recalls the noise surrounding the 2017 squad expecting some sort of rebuild, everyone. minus retooling. Soon after, the Panthers produced another successful outing.
“I think it’s very similar to that,” Rodgers said. “We have a lot of parts, and it’s going to take a little longer to put those parts in place.”
The Panthers outscored Hingham in the Patriot League Cup opener last season to seal a 12-0 unbeaten season. Even with a few changes in Rodgers’ roster, expectations within the squad never seem to go down. But the Panthers don’t want to come too far.
“It will be each team’s Super Bowl for us to beat, but we have to take it one game at a time,” Vallancourt said. “Don’t try to look too far ahead, just focus on who we have in front of us. Us and everything else will take care of the rest.”