NR boys basketball team stays together over summer

Published 9:13 pm Saturday, June 16, 2012

By Titus Mohler
Correspondent

The Nansemond River boys basketball team will continue its busy preparation for the 2012-2013 season by participating in the King’s Fork Summer League.

NR has been involved every year that their fellow Suffolk school has put the league on.

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“This is the seventh year for the King’s Fork League,” Warriors coach Ed Young said. “We are going to be in that starting on June 21.”

The league will feature 12 schools from around the Hampton Roads area, which will play as many as nine games in the league’s “regular” season. Following this, the top eight teams will play in a single elimination tournament on July 17-18 to determine a league champion.

The games’ conditions will be very much like a normal high school game with regular referees, but the structure will be markedly different.

“In the summer, you want to keep things moving,” Young said, “so we usually run two 20-minute halves running time except for the last two minutes of the half. Then the clock stops on all whistles.”

Young described the type of kids who participate from Nansemond River and other schools.

“It’s for kids that coaches probably would think have a chance to make varsity next year,” he said. “It would be rising juniors, seniors, some rising sophomores, and you might even see a couple rising freshmen playing on certain teams.”

Coaches use the league as an opportunity to see how players can adjust to the sudden absence of their older counterparts.

“Everybody’s lost all their seniors, of course, they’ve graduated, so everybody moves up,” Young said. “Now you put those kids in those roles which might be a little different than what they played as a youngster the year before, two years before. So, now you get to see how they adjust to that role. Can they adjust?”

Young and his peers also consider potential additions to the team.

“You also get a chance to see the skill level of the younger kids,” Young said. “Are they good enough to play at the varsity level or do they still need another year on JV? Leagues like this and the team camps — that’s usually what coaches are going to try to get out of them.”

Young and Nansemond River are very active in offseason events. They are currently competing in the Maury High School Summer League, which started at the beginning of May and ends later this month. They also participate in team camps.

“We’re involved in about five team camps in the area,” Young said. “Plus, we’ve been invited to one of the top team camps in the country up in Pennsylvania.”

Additionally, Nansemond River has its JV team playing in a league in Portsmouth.

The Warriors’ turnout in these events for both varsity and JV has been strong.

“I’d say, when you look at both teams put together, we probably have about 50-some kids try out,” Young said. “And of course, most of the time, we reward the returning players, the first bunch, if, in fact, they deserve it.”

To determine who deserves it, coaches widen their gaze beyond just the basketball court.

“And we base it on, not just skill level, but their grades, how they’re progressing in school,” Young said. “Because if their grades are shaky, then we don’t put them on the offseason roster because what we’re trying to teach them is if you don’t have grades, you won’t be playing in the winter, so no need to play now.”

Young boils down what the King’s Fork Summer League and the plethora of summertime opportunities are designed to do for the boys of Nansemond River.

“The idea of all this is — give your kids a chance to play under game situations, game pressure,” Young said, “(so) as to (learn) what they would need to do come regular season.”

If the idea works, November will tell the story.