“Say less, do more.”
Those are the words that new Greenwood boys basketball coach Joe Bradburn has been drilling into the heads of his players during the preseason.
Bradburn is hoping to light a fire under a senior class that is long on individual talent but has thus far been short on actual team success.
For the four returning starters, it’s now or never.
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“They have a ton of experience; a lot of them have played a lot of basketball through the AAU circuit and different things,” Bradburn said. “That’s a benefit, but what they need to figure out is how to bring that together. That’s something I think they haven’t done to this point.”
Fortunately, the veteran Woodmen seem to realize that their time is running out, and they’re buying into what Bradburn has been selling.
“Every single one of us on the team on the team wanted a change, because we were tired of losing,” senior guard Eric Moenkhaus said. “It’s a new feel, and I think everybody likes it.”
If Greenwood can put it all together, the potential is there for a magical season. Moenkhaus is capable of filling it up on any given night, having averaged 17.5 points a year ago. Braydon Kincaid (11.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists) brings court savvy and versatility while Max Raker, labeled a “bulldog” by Bradburn, delivers the intangibles.
On the inside, 6-foot-6 Jeff Reynolds has length and shot-blocking ability (13.5 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 2.3 bpg in 2016-17) but also a mobility that Blackburn hasn’t seen in any of the big men he’s previously coached.
“That’s an element that I’ve not had in my program before, so I’m anxious to try to utilize that,” Blackburn said.
The pieces are there at Greenwood, to be sure — but those same pieces have been there the past two seasons, and they have yet to put together a winning season for a program that hasn’t had one since the 2005-06 campaign.
These Woodmen are eager to rewrite the narrative, especially the seniors. Bradburn, though, would prefer they go about doing so quietly.
“We’re not talking about it,” the coach said. “We’ve just got to go out and prove it.”
Nov. 24;New Castle;7:30 p.m.
Nov. 25;Greenwood Christian;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 1;Martinsville;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 8;at Franklin;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 9;Indianapolis Herron;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 13;Triton Central;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 16;at Speedway;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 19;at Beech Grove;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 29;Center Grove;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 5;at Whiteland;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 9-13;Johnson County tournament
Jan. 17;at Perry Meridian;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 19;at Decatur Central;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 26;at Shelbyville;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 27;at Roncalli;7:30 p.m.
Feb. 3;Greenfield-Central;1:30 p.m.
Feb. 9;Plainfield;7:30 p.m.
Feb. 16;Mooresville;7:30 p.m.
Feb. 17;Mt. Vernon (Fortville);7:30 p.m.
Feb. 20;at Indian Creek;7:30 p.m.
Feb. 23;New Palestine;7:30 p.m.
Head coach: Joe Bradburn
Last season: 11-13, lost to Franklin Central in sectional-opener
Key returnees: Conner Battinau, Sr., F; Isaiah Davis, Jr., G; Isaiah Drew, Jr., G; Braydon Kincaid, Sr., G; Eric Moenkhaus, Sr., G; Max Raker, Sr., G; Jeffrey Reynolds, Sr., F/C;
Fresh faces: Justin Johnson, Sr., G; Devin Lester, Jr., F; Ian Raker, So., G; Luke Raker, So., G
Outlook: Untapped potential has been the theme lately for the Woodmen, who have plenty of talent but have not been able to translate that into victories. New coach Bradburn hopes to change that. He inherits four returning starters, all seniors with college potential, and an athletic bench. Improved shooting — Greenwood hit just 62 percent of its free throws and 29 percent of its 3-pointers last year — would help the cause, but chemistry and work ethic will determine whether or not this group can finally succeed together.
Coachspeak: “I feel like they have high expectations. … The work and the consistency on a daily basis is what we’re going to strive for, and I think they understand that.” — Bradburn