Last season: 4-18, 1-5 GLC. Lost in opener of Class 3A Clark Sectional to Clark.
Inside the Gladiators
Leading returning scorers: Shalon Bell 9 ppg, D.J. Jones 9 ppg
Leading returning rebounder: Xavier Copeland 6.5 rpg
Star power: Shalon Bell, Sr., G, and D.J. Jones, Sr., G. Senior guards Bell and Jones will spread the floor with their perimeter games as well as initiating the type of uptempo game a small team like Gavit needs to employ.
Newcomer to watch: Junior Kyle Landers is projected to be the lone underclassman in the Gladiators starting lineup.
Set the alarm clock
"Good ... with that Mohawk you've added a couple of inches," Gavit coach Brandon Ridenour said while measuring the height of senior guard Kyle Johnson, who has "grown" to 5-foot-7. The Gladiators will likely embrace anything to enhance the tale of the tape. They will lose the size battle often this season — at least when measuring toe to head. "We may not be very tall, but we do have length with some long arms on this team," Ridenour said. "We have a lot of kids back, and we have a deep bench. Our guys have had a good spring and summer in improving their games, and we're expecting a little more this season." The Gladiators have already shown uncommon commitment by the way they adhere to "Coughlin Time" — a standard established by the New York Giants football coach who believes that if you don't arrive 15 minutes early, you're late, even when practice is at 5 a.m. "Actually, most of the players like practicing at this time," Ridenour said during a predawn practice. "They get to go home after school." The early practices are a necessity at Gavit, which has only one gym for grades 6-12. "We have to be creative with our scheduling," Ridenour said. "Our middle school teams often practice at the elementary schools, but they play their home games here. It would be nice if we had more space (like other schools), but it is what it is. I'm just glad that the players and their families have been so understanding." — John Burbridge