Mike Olson said there are a lot of unknowns when it comes to the Long Trail boys basketball team this season.
Par for the course in 2021.
“I think we just really won’t know what we have until we can start to play other teams,” the coach said.
Luckily for Olson and the LTS squad, there will be some more clarity come Friday, when the Mountain Lions host Arlington for their first game of the season.
What is known is LTS brings in an even mix of returning players and newcomers to the team.
JD Redding is just a freshman, but is among the returning group. Redding even started some games as an eight grader last year, and Olson views him as a key piece to this year’s team.
Redding has great size for Division IV basketball at 6 foot 4 inches tall. Don’t let his height fool you, though. The freshman is a legitimate scoring threat from beyond the arc.
“I see JD being probably our biggest threat from the outside,” Olson said.
He will be a part of the team’s core, which will include Burr and Burton transfer student Cannon Petry, a new face to the team.
“He can play any guard position, including the point,” Olson said of the junior. “He’s athletic, he loves to compete. I think he brings a lot to the equation.”
Olson believes Zach Wildman will be the third and final piece of the Mountain Lions core group in 2021. Olson praised the sophomore’s improvement over the past year.
“He really has made a significant jump from year one to year two, he’s an aggressive player on the defensive and he rebounds,” Olson said.
LTS goes beyond just those three players, however. Olson said he could see seven different players earning starts at some point throughout the season.
The Mountain Lions are young, having just one senior in Soren Ericksen. Olsen said the team will need to rely on leadership from Ericksen and Petry this year as older members of the team.
With a young team facing a tough schedule, a lot of the unknowns Olson speaks about come from the uncertainty of how his players will react.
“How we handle adversity and then how we continue to progress on a week by week basis really will define this particular season,” Olson said.
Olson believes that after a tough year last season where LTS went 3-16, there will be growth, no matter what the Mountain Lions record ends up being in a shortened 2021 season.
“I do believe we’re significantly improved,” Olson said. “I think we can be
able to be competitive and give people a run for their money. If that translates into wins or not I don’t know if we’re ready for that yet, but I know we’ll be better.”
ROSTER: Soren Ericksen, Cannon Petry, Timur Anafin, Arslan Sanabayev, Aidan Tarbell, Zach Wildman, Jacob Leary, Will Clark, Luca Goff, JD Redding