Mixing and matching: Marquette boys basketball team has pieces to build puzzle again
“With the team we have, practice is something that we’re going to have to value and use to our advantage.” — Brad Nelson, head coach, Marquette boys basketball
Editor’s note: This is one in a series of season previews of Marquette and Alger County high school basketball teams as the girls’ season began this week and the boys season commences next week.
MARQUETTE — Not many teams lose as much firepower in one graduating class as the Marquette Senior High School boys basketball team have, but there’s optimism of retaining success in the program.
Kameron Karp, Lincoln Sager and Ty Lotterman each were two-year starters for the Redmen and the ringleaders of an MHSAA Division 1 regional finals appearance. The run came to an end to eventual state champion Grand Blanc — led by Illinois commit Ty Rodgers — but the class will be remembered for a long time by Marquette head coach Brad Nelson.
“They were huge, they were three true basketball players,” Nelson said. “They’re best friends and the chemistry was there, and it took part of the season to kind of get everything going with the craziness of what last year was.
“But just the leadership that they showed and the leadership that they carried on from the classes prior to them is something that they need to be proud of and it carried on to this year’s group of seniors and hopefully for years to come.”
However, the MSHS group of seniors this year are also experienced. Nelson thinks his team has some work to do but has the talent and athletes to get where they want to be.
Jordan DeMay and Justin Jurmu are the two mainstays for Marquette in this upcoming season, and both have multiple years of varsity play under their belts. The Redmen’s most experienced player is David Eberhard, but he will be out for the season due to injury, according to Nelson. The team will miss him, but Nelson feels he has the guys to fill in the blanks.
With a team that is relatively new together in their new roles, it’s going to be a process, Nelson said.
Chemistry won’t come as quickly with losing key starters like the Redmen did, but this might be where the schedule falls in their favor. Marquette only has four games this month, so that’ll lead to a lot of practice time to get everyone acclimated.
“It’s a tough schedule, not only in who we play but we don’t have many games in December,” Nelson said. “That means January-February are pretty booked solid (with games). It’s going to be a lot of practice, but I think early in the season with the team we have, practice is something that we’re going to have to value and use to our advantage.”
Marquette’s season begins Friday on the road at Petoskey with a game at West Branch Ogemaw Heights the following afternoon. It’s followed with another road trip a week later to face Traverse City Central and Traverse City West. A short trip to Negaunee on Dec. 30 caps off the month and the early portion of the schedule. In terms of what Nelson is looking for then, it’s all about what his team can control.
“Early season, my message has always been every year that I’ve coached, is take the things that you can control and control them,” Nelson said. “Those things are hustle, flying around, offensive rebounds, boxing out, all of the things that coaches preach.
“We really shouldn’t have to preach it because those are things that kids can do on their own and you don’t need to be an all-(Upper Peninsula) basketball player to do those things.”
“Those are the things that I’m looking for, is (to) go out and take care of those things so we don’t have to address them later in the year when we’re trying to work on schemes and the X’s and O’s, that’ll come.”
Travis Nelson can be reached by email at email@example.com.