Last year, the varsity basketball team performed at a high level under strange circumstances. The COVID-19 Pandemic forced athletes to mask up on the court for games and practices. The team finished with a record of 21-2, falling to Kickapoo in the State-Semifinals. I sat down with Coach Bennett to find out his expectations for the upcoming season.
When asked about which players may become leaders on this year’s team, coach Bennett said the senior class will have a major role. This includes Nate and Walt Straugther, who Coach Bennett said could be “leaders on and off the court.” Coach Bennett also has faith in the strong junior class which includes BJ Ward and Nilavan Daniels. The pandemic will still be in effect for this year’s season as all athletes will be required to continue wearing masks. Coach Bennett encourages them to make smart decisions regarding the virus.
Chaminade will compete in several nationwide showcases this year. This includes the Spalding Hoop Hall Classic in Boston, the Chicago Elite Classic, and the local Highland Shootout in nearby Highland, Illinois. Bennett also said there is potential for new players and underclassmen to step up and fill roles on the team, including the near 7-foot-tall freshman Ben Winker. Coach Bennett gave me what he thinks are the three strengths of this team. These strengths are their love of competition, their work ethic, and their unselfish style of play. In regards to chemistry, Coach Bennett re-emphasized the team’s unselfishness and determination to find the right shot on every possession. Overall, this year’s team looks to put together another stellar season.