GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - Basketball season is on its way. As November approaches, schools all around the country begin holding tryouts, start practicing and preparing for the upcoming season.
Grand Canyon High School is no different as they gear up for the upcoming season of roundball. The Phantoms lost two starters from last year's squad but still bring back the core of the team according to head coach David Beery.
"We're bringing back some talent from our team last year, when we made it to the 'elite eight' of state," said Beery. "I'm estimating we'll have about five seniors this year, but our strength could very well be the real strong junior class we have this year though."
This is Beery's second year as the head coach of the Phantoms and his 12th year overall coaching basketball. He said last year was definitely a learning process for the team, getting used to his laid back style of coaching and his offensive schemes as well.
"I want to teach the kids how to play basketball and not just how to run to a spot. I want to teach them how to read a defense and make a reaction," Beery said. "Last year we weren't as good in the half-court as I would have liked. So I'm hoping in year two of my offense they'll start to really play basketball instead of just running a play."
Beery, who coached previously in Bozeman, Mont., is a man-to-man defensive coach but plans to mix it up more than usual this year. He wants to show more variety in his defensive schemes and keep other teams on their toes while hopefully creating more mismatches and turnovers in the Phantom's favor.
Beery said he also likes to have pressure on the ball the entire game, but a full-court high intensity pressure will only be unleashed sparingly.
The head coach went on to talk about the other positive things his team and what one returning junior brings to the table.
"We have some length, and quickness, so we will utilize that if that's to our advantage over other teams," said Beery. "We also have Joey Bankston, a junior, who's a little more athletic than most other kids at this level. He's a complete basketball player too, not just an athlete. He's 6 feet 4 inches, he plays in the post and he can step out on the wing, he's pretty versatile."
The Grand Canyon Phantoms open the regular season at home Nov. 28 against the Tuba City Warriors.