Brendan Puckett goes up for a layup in the first week of practice for the Cerro Gordo-Bement boys basketball team.
By BLAKE FAITH
The Cerro Gordo-Bement boys basketball team is looking to surprise some teams this year and get better and better throughout the entire season with their returners and new faces in the rotation.
“It’s really exciting. I think especially with this group, I’m excited to see what we can become,” Head coach Brandon Willard said. “Last year we were loaded with seniors and we had started four seniors that had all played the year before. This year we’re starting one returner with really any sort of varsity experience. So, it’s going to be neat to see what these guys that have put in dues and, and paid their dues, I think that this year, more than any other year the amount of improvement we’ll have throughout the year is gonna be really fun to watch. So I’m excited and it’s always good to get back on the court with the guys.”
Coach Willard said that the focus of improvement over the off-season, open gyms and first reason for practice was teaching the game to some of his players all over again. Whether it was terminology, the players knowing what Coach Rogers would say before he says it, and focusing on the basics.
Tyson Moore is returning as the lone varsity starter from last year and Coach Willard will expect big impacts from him along with Will Flock, Will Fuson and Brendan Puckett.
“Tyson was unanimous first team all last year,” Coach Willard said. He’s worked extremely hard this summer. He has gone through just countless individual workouts to try to make his game as good as possible. I think that Tyson, in my opinion, I’m biased, but I think he’s if not one of the best, if not the best player in the area and I think he’s clearly the best shooter. Brendan and Will worked really hard this summer, junior and a sophomore and I think that. I think that Will has been watching Tyson in a lot of ways, and Will is kind of what Tyson was two years ago. They’re the same type of player and I think that Will’s had a great last year watching Tyson and this year playing with Tyson will really help, because I think the sky’s the limit for Will. I think he’s a really good player as well and so is Brendan.“
Coach Willard continued, “I’m proud of Brendan. He has always been around, may not have played very much, but he’s going to get his opportunity this year to start and I do think that he’ll make the most of it. And he’s really come a long way as well. Jacob Flock is a kid. He is not here today. He’s a senior. As of last year, he just decided on a whim he was going out for basketball. He’s a tall kid and his motor never stops and he will be the first to tell you that he doesn’t know basketball very well, but the fact is he’s going to give you 110% all the time. He went from being a really raw player last year, to being a good player that we can’t take off the floor in the summer because we lose so much when he comes off. So it’ll be interesting to see what he can do this year, but I think it’ll be good.”
Moore has been with this team since his sophomore year and he knows that this year he is the main man being the senior and being a leader means a lot to him and he is prepared for it.
“It means a lot, because my sophomore year, we knew that this was the role I was gonna have to take on senior year. I’m glad we had the off season and the games we played to kind of get ready for this because it’s a big role and I had taken it on even last year. I had to take on some of that role, but I had actual seniors who were the real leaders. But this year, I’m the senior, like the main man and I think I prepared well for it. These guys aren’t like troublemakers, so they’re easy to get along with.”
Moore’s team goal is to make good memories and have no regrets at the end of this season. Moore’s individual goal is to make all-conference first team. Moore wants his lasting mark to be similar “to Connor Brown where he wants to be the guy who was reliable, could get a bucket when needed, and answer the call to be a main leader and captain.”
Fuson is a sophomore who is the point guard of this team and wants to try his hardest to do his best and help navigate his team. Fuson’s team goal is to have a winning record and individual goal is to stay focused and healthy and do his best.
Puckett, a junior, looked up to Moore, Connor and Carson Brown and it means a lot to be in this position of leadership and said it’s been great working this whole summer with the freshman and sophomores. Puckett’s team goal is to make it back to the regional championship and individual goal is to average eight points and eight assists a game.
Coach Willard always says that his players make him correct and prove his point that they are some of the best leaders in the school and the community and he hope expects them to continue to be that level as leaders. Coach Willard’s season expectations are to get better and better throughout the season and thinks that they’ll shock some teams.
“My expectation is that we just get better and better,” Coach Willard said. “I think that we’re going to surprise some teams, that are probably gonna overlook us when they look at our size, when they look at kind of what we’re returning, but I’m confident that if they play like they have these first few days in practice, we’ll be able to surprise some teams and I think it’ll be good.”
Coach Willard’s message to readers and the community is to come out and support this team and that they will be hard-working and fun to watch.
“I’d like the community to come out and watch these guys because it’s always fun regardless of wins or losses,” Coach Willard said. “The community can get behind a team that does things right and plays their butts off and these guys, from what I saw yesterday in practice specifically, they’ll do that. I think that you’ve got a couple really special players to watch. I think that you got a team that’s gonna fight and claw really hard. And so I think that’s the type of team a community should be proud of. So I’d love to see everybody out here starting Thanksgiving for the Turkey tournament.”