SANDPOINT — They’ll have speed and quickness galore.
They have shooters that can score from beyond the arc and by getting to the rim off the dribble.
And they return a lot of experience and senior leadership, which always goes a long way.
What the Clark Fork boys basketball team doesn’t have, at least like they have in the recent past, is height, and as the old sports axiom goes, you can’t coach height.
Second year head coach Jim Banks can coach offense, defense and effort though, and that’s what he plans to do after guiding the team to a 7-11 record last season. While shooting may slump, effort should always be a constant, and Banks hopes his charges heed that message.
“The hardest feat is to make kids work hard. My goal is to have each kid give 110 percent when they are on the court,” he said. “There are a few players that stay after and work on their own time. I would like to see everyone be a team leader and not be a follower, and give 110 percent.”
Leading the way will be sophomore guard Kobe Banks, the lone returning All-North Star League Wampus Cat. Banks will have a green light in his dad’s up-tempo offense, and for good reason after eclipsing 16 points 10 times last year, including a pair of 26 point efforts.
He’ll run the offense and create at point guard, but he’s also dangerous from beyond the arc, including a game as a freshman where he drained seven long range bombs.
“He controls the game well,” said Jim of Kobe. “His biggest strength is his ability to know what to do in each situation.”
Senior Wade Stevens is a classic stat sheet stuffer, and the four-year varsity player is a tone setter with hustle, defense and quiet leadership.
Senior Bryant Moore also returns with plenty of varsity experience, and will be counted on for rebounding on a team with nobody much over six feet tall. They plan to use their quickness to get to the rim, setting up open looks from the perimeter.
“Theo drives strong to the hoop,” described Banks. “Bryant is excellent at finishing. He needs to work on leading the team.”
Senior T.J. Henderson will round out the starting five and provide a presence down low, with a host of underclassmen ready to log varsity minutes in sophomores Josh Constantin and Charlie Abbott, and freshmen Cameron Garcia and Denzel Kailang.
Moore, who will be tasked with guarding taller players most of the year, feels the team has the potential to make some noise in the North Star League.
“We’ve played together for a long time. A lot of speed and quickness and good shooters, but not as much height,” said Moore. “The goal is to make it to state. With Kobe and Wade up front, and me and T.J. down low, we have a good starting five. Hopefully we can make a run at the North Star League.”
The Wampus Cats tip off the season tonight, when they host North Idaho Christian at 7:30 p.m.