Roles clear for Shenendehowa boys’ basketball players as season tips

Evan McMahon, left, drives against Evan Paddock during a Monday, Nov. 16, 2015 Shenendehowa boys' basketball practice in Clifton Park. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Sportswriter)Evan McMahon, left, drives against Evan Paddock during a Monday, Nov. 16, 2015 Shenendehowa boys' basketball practice in Clifton Park. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Sportswriter)

BY MICHAEL KELLY
Gazette Sportswriter

— When a haphazard scrimmage possession ended with a failed long 2-point attempt at a recent practice, Shenendehowa boys’ basketball head coach Tony Dzikas’ rebuke was to the point.

“Guys, we’ve got too many special players to get a shot like that,” Dzikas said. “Everyone, know your roles.”

Winning games in a single season is easier when a coach has talents like senior guard Kevin Huerter at his or her disposal. But in order to sustain success, what’s more important is constructing a roster — a program, really — in which roles are clearly defined and allow players to grow within a team environment.

The defending state champions’ roster for the 2015-16 season shows how care for the overall health of a program helps a team reload rather than rebuild. Two of the team’s likely starters — 6-foot-4 junior guard Luke Hicks and 6-foot-7 junior center Mike Pizziketti — were varsity members last season as sophomores, playing quality spot minutes on a loaded team for which they were more luxuries than necessities.

“Really, my whole role last year was to try to make [Huerter] better in practice,” said Hicks, whose squad starts its 2015-16 season tonight vs. Burnt Hills. “And I knew coming in as a sophomore that I was underdeveloped, slower.”

To read more of this report, head to dailygazette.com.

About the Author

Michael Kelly
Michael Kelly is a sports reporter for Your Clifton Park and Your Niskayuna, weekly print publications of The Daily Gazette. Kelly grew up in Clifton Park and graduated from Shenendehowa High School in 2006. He is also a 2010 graduate of the Stony Brook University School of Journalism. Kelly's work has been honored by the New York News Publishers Association, the New York State Associated Press Association, and the Associated Press Sports Editors. His work has previously been featured in The (Amsterdam) Recorder, The Saratogian, and Albany Times Union.