‘Traitor’ Harvey settling in as Coal Ridge High School’s new boys basketball coach | PostIndependent.com

‘Traitor’ Harvey settling in as Coal Ridge High School’s new boys basketball coach

Jeff Caspersen and Baron Zahuranec
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

PEACH VALLEY, Colorado ” His old team calls him a traitor. He says he’s going home. Who are we to believe?

Paul Harvey, the new Coal Ridge Titans boys basketball coach, was an assistant with the Grand Valley Cardinals for the last eight years.

“Those kids (at Grand Valley) called me a traitor for leaving them,” Harvey joked. “But I’m from New Castle, so I’m just going back to where I came from.”

The new head coach takes over a team that went 14-9 overall and 8-6 in 3A Western Slope League action. Coal Ridge’s season ended with a loss to Strasburg in the first round of the 3A playoffs.

“This year, we have a strong core of players,” Harvey said. “I think we’re going to compete for one of the top four spots in the league.”

The Titans have 16 league games this season and, if they can get on a roll, Harvey really likes their chances of finishing the season at the top. He thinks his old squad at Grand Valley is going to be one of the toughest teams, followed closely by Gunnison and Aspen.

“We have a lot of real good competition in the league,” Harvey said. “I think we’ll be OK though. We have the talent and, if they play hard, we should be good to go.”

The Titans’ offense will be similar to what Harvey used at Grand Valley, a run-and-gun or dribble-drive motion type of offense.

“We have a lot of offensive talent out there that I think will work real well for what we want to do,” Harvey said.

He wants a team with good ball handlers who can drive the lane and then decide if they should take a shot or pass to a perimeter player lurking around the 3-point line.

Titan guards Andy Smedra and Eric Schmitz should excel in this system, Harvey said, but big man Alex Klein will have some plays designed for him, too.

“We have guys that can drive and shoot and that will get us both inside and outside shots,” Harvey said. “We’re going to be looking for 3s. We don’t want to hold onto the ball for too long ” we want to be fast. The more shots you get, the easier it is to get into a groove.”

CARBONDALE, Colorado ” Preseason basketball is all about finding your way, and that’s exactly what the new-look Roaring Fork Rams have been trying to do in early practice and scrimmages.

“There are times when we look like a million dollars and there are times it looks like we haven’t touched a basketball,” first-year head coach Larry Williams offered.

Williams, who once coached the Roaring Fork High School girls basketball team and has held a number of coaching posts ” in various sports ” at Roaring Fork since he began teaching there in 1987, is taking over a team that took a big graduation hit.

Gone are big man Torrey Udall and sharp-shooting guard Matthias Weissl, who helped the Rams to a 19-7 record and fifth straight trip to the 3A state tournament.

Williams will have just one player with substantial varsity experience in 6-foot-3-inch forward Ryan Weimer, but loads of accomplished sub-varsity players. As the Rams’ C team coach last season, Williams is familiar with Roaring Fork basketball from top to bottom.

“I know what’s coming up,” he said, “and it looks good for the future. We just need a little more experience playing basketball, time to physically mature. They’re a great young group.”

Some names to watch out for include senior post Jon Araujo, senior guard Michael Black, senior forward Diego Rubio and senior forward Nate Soucie. Another senior, Tyler Thompson, is recovering from a shoulder injury and should work his way into the mix at some point.

Williams hopes to see his team round into shape as the season progresses.

“It just depends on how quickly we jell as a team,” he said. “These guys have all played together for quite a while. They just haven’t had that varsity experience. We’re hoping to get that experience throughout the season.”

PARACHUTE, Colorado ” The Grand Valley Cardinals boys basketball team looks toward this season with a one-year interim head coach in charge.

Mark Cowan took over the head coach position when Scott Kiburis resigned last season, but he will only be in charge for one year while the Cardinals seek out a long-term coach.

On top of having a new coach, Grand Valley moves up from 2A WSL play to the heightened competition of 3A with the likes of Aspen, Coal Ridge, Cedaredge, Olathe, Hotchkiss, Basalt, Gunnison and Roaring Fork.

“I feel real good about what I’ve seen so far,” Cowan said. “I coached some of these kids in junior high, so I knew who the kids were. They know how to work hard, and they’re showing that so far.”

Last year, the Cardinals went 21-4 overall and 8-0 in league games. They were the top seed in the 2A state playoffs, but dropped their first game to No. 8 Sedgwick County in the first round. They rebounded for a win over Hoehne in the consolation bracket and lost to Holyoke in the consol final.

The Cardinals have eight seniors on this year’s team, so senior leadership should play a big role in guiding them to the playoffs.

“We are really good as a group. It’s not a bunch of individuals,” Cowan said. “We don’t have any superstars. Obviously, our senior leadership is a huge strength for us. If you fight one of them, you’ll have to fight them all.”

Being an experienced team, picking up Cowan’s new offensive and defensive schemes shouldn’t be that hard.

Said the Cards’ new coach: “These guys already know how to play. Just look at what they were able to do last year.”

Grand Valley plans to use a matchup zone defense, and they want to run their offense in half-court sets and get solid possessions.

The Cardinals used to be a dribble-drive team that shot a lot. This year they’ll look for, and stress, open, uncontested shots.

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