Story by Marquis Newman
Cyprus Basketball’s Future Looks Promising
The 2011-2012 Cyprus boys basketball team has had a slow start to the season starting 0-3, but their future potential looks promising. This is due to a strong group of upcoming sophomores and the leadership of a talented junior, Connor Squire.
The Cyprus Pirates have struggled early in the season, losing to Jordan, West, and long time region rival Granger. This slow start hasn’t come as a shock due to the fact that the Pirates have no starters returning from last season. “It’s going to take a while for these kids to get the feel,” said head coach Robb Collins while discussing his team’s slow start.
Collins believes that his team will be ready to compete when it becomes time to start region play.
“We’re becoming more aware and getting a better understanding of my philosophy as a coach… we’ve got our work cut out for us, but if we focus on team chemistry and work together we can still be successful and go to the state tournament,” said Collins.
Part of Cyprus’s struggles this season is that they do not yet have a third scoring threat. Squire, point guard for the team, is averaging 16.67 points per game and senior forward Austin Henriod contributes by scoring 8.33 points per game, but after those two players Cyprus doesn’t have anybody else averaging more than 6 points. Defenses are able to game plan around stopping Henriod and Squire, and the rest of the team is not taking advantage of their opportunities.
Squire has played very well in the pirates’ first three games. Squire is the tenth leading scorer in 4A and has made 7 threes over that three game span. Squire said he believes “we can be a good team…if we play physical this year we can make [the state tournament].”
Squire has found that leading a team isn’t easy, especially as a junior. “The seniors sometimes don’t respect what I have to say… It’s a struggle to become a leader, all you can do is lead by example and not become frustrated when people screw up,” said Squire.
Squire has worked hard over the summer to make himself a better player, and it is obvious by his play on the court. “I realized what I needed to do to make myself better and I tried not to take any days off,” said Squire.
The coaching staff feels very optimistic about the future of this team with the emergence of what Collins calls “a very talented and athletic sophomore class.”
Point guard Josh Jackson and forward Parker Loutensock lead the sophomore group, both have played extensive varsity minutes this season. Collins said that both sophomores are “recognizing that they can be big contributors to our team and are working very hard to get better in practice.”
“I think with the upcoming sophomores Cyprus has potential to be a good program,” said Tre Smith, the Cyprus Sophomore coach, former Cyprus player and former University of Utah basketball player.
Smith believes that if the sophomore group prioritizes school and basketball they will be pretty good. “We made the state tournament in 2010 with a really good group of kids and I see the same potential with our younger kids…I’m very excited to see what the future holds,” said Smith.