An unfamiliar position: A cast of new faces fill up BBA squad this season


MANCHESTER >> During his first four seasons, head coach Dave Shehadi knew what to expect from his Burr and Burton Academy boys basketball team.

This year, though, Shehadi does not quite know yet what this year's team can do.

"We have a very young and inexperienced team this year," Shehadi said. "A lot of new players playing varsity, some even playing basketball for the first time here, so it's going to be interesting to see what happens this year."

The Bulldogs graduated eight players from last year's squad and only have two players returning with any varsity experience.

Those two players are Griff Stalcup and Carter Vickers. Both players are juniors and were backups on the team last season.

"Griff and Carter are going to have to be our leaders out there this season," Shehadi said. "They are the only ones who have any varsity experience and we expect them to help the others get adjusted to playing at varsity level."

With Vickers and Stalcup as the only two varsity players returning this season, there are plenty of spots open for the other players to make an impact.

Junior Sean Apps is expected to be very productive for the Bulldogs this season at the power forward spot. The Little brothers, Dylan and Bryce, will both have a chance to get playing time in the BBA back court, as well as new a player in the program, Tyriq Williams.

Williams transferred to BBA this past fall, and with his speed and quickness, can be very good point guard for the Bulldogs, Shehadi said.

BBA has another new player in their program as well in senior Nicolai Sands. Sands has played on the BBA lacrosse and football teams throughout his high school career and decided to come out for the basketball team for his senior year.

Being 6-foot-4, Sands will bring some height to the team as well as toughness from playing other sports, Shehadi said.

"I think having some these new players, who have played on varsity with other sports, is going to help us be competitive," Shehadi said. "Toughness can definitely be something that can help win some games for us this season."

BBA will have another handful of players that can make impact on the team, starting with junior Cam Bunker. Bunker won a starting spot coming out of training camp and will help give depth to the Bulldogs in the front court, too.

Juniors Eric Fenton and Sam Cochrane will both have chances to earn minutes with their ability shoot the basketball. The Kapusta cousins, Stephen and Dylan, will both have chances to earn playing time as well.

All 12 players on the team will have the opportunities to determine their roles for the season, Shehadi said.

"Everybody is competing for playing time right now," Shehadi said. "We're giving every guy on the team a chance to prove themselves and it's been fun to watch."

With expectations not as high as they have been the past four season because of the team being young and inexperienced, BBA finds itself in a unfamiliar position to start the season. That being said, the way you're playing at the end of the season is what matters the most, Shehadi said.

"We're going to focus on getting better as a team week to week," Shehadi said. "We're going to try to win as many games as we can and will see where we are at come playoff time."

BBA won its season opener against Middlebury on Wednesday night, 50-40. They will play their next two games in this weekend's Kevin Riell Tournament, at CVU.


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