With winter comes the start of the new basketball season. One of City and Country’s favorite sports has started up again and it looks like it will be a great season. Todd Rosenthal, the 12/13s girls coach and director of the sports program said, “I love that all the kids are interested in [basketball],” and he is optimistic about this season. Todd said that the teams look great and he’s especially excited about the 10s/11s girls team which have 16 players and interest has grown a lot. When it comes to the older teams, Todd is glad about the level of dedication. He said that the older teams are left with a core group who are ready to commit. “It’s working out the way I want it to,” said Todd. There has also been a large rise in interest in basketball over the five years. A lot more younger kids are joining the teams which has everyone very excited.
A big part of the basketball program this year is the new coaches. There are four new coaches: Natalie Boykoff (10s/11s girls), Harold "Cliff" Morgan (12s/13s boys), Akeem Cyprian (10s/11s boys), and Rashid Najeeullah (10s/11s boys.) The selection process for these coaches is very extensive. Todd said that he starts by making a listing on Indeed.com, a job finding website. “We get a lot of applicants, about 60 or 70 apply,” he said. He then selects a part of the applicants and does extensive interviews. Todd said that the main things he looks for are having lots of experience, fitting in to the community and especially someone who can do more than just working on plays but also work at foot work, shots, and defense. “I really want someone who can be more than just a coach on the court. They should build a relationship with the kids,” Todd said. Other factors Todd takes into account are the coach’s experience with the game and their ability to help in player development.
Many of the players are also excited and looking forward to starting the new season. Willem Hale, a XIII who has been on the team for four years, said that he’s really glad about the teams and he thinks that they have a very strong, competitive team spirit. However, he also said that handling the three-day practice commitment and homework can be tough. “It definitely brings a challenge, but it’s worth it. I’m dedicated and I really want to be on this team,” Willem said. Declan Larson, another XIII, said that he is happy with the new coaches. “I think Coach Morgan has really gotten us prepared. We’ve worked on a lot of different plays which I think will help us in the game,” he said. “If there was one thing I would change it would be to scrimmage more, just so we can get prepared to actually play.”
Overall, the basketball season is looking like a good one. Both players and coaches are excited for the season and looking forward to getting in and playing. The new coaches, strong dedicated teams and team spirit will surely make for a great season.