VALPARAISO

Scouting the 2013-14 Valparaiso Vikings boys basketball team

2013-11-23T00:00:00Z Scouting the 2013-14 Valparaiso Vikings boys basketball team nwitimes.com
November 23, 2013 12:00 am

Last year: 18-5, 11-3 (DAC)

Team breakdown

The Vikings graduated their starting five, but new coach Matt Thomas isn't calling this a rebuilding year. "I don't like the word," Thomas said. "What message are you telling your seniors, that their season doesn't matter? I care about the tradition, but I care about the seniors more. I want them to go out with a good year." That said, Thomas knows he has many more questions than answers. With only one player who has seen considerable varsity time (Justin Osburn), the others will have to adapt to the faster, more physical style that comes with playing at 7:30 p.m. rather than 6. "My concern right now is defense and rebounding," Thomas said. "There are a lot of unknowns defensively, how we're going to match up and get stops. Offensively, we're not explosive, but we're skilled and smart." — Jim Peters

Last season finish

Lost in the Class 4A Michigan City Sectional championship to Merrillville.

Leading returning scorer

Justin Osburn, 7.3 ppg.

Leading returning rebounder

Justin Osburn, 1.7 rpg.

Star power

Justin Osburn, Sr., G: A lights out shooter, Osburn made 2,538 3s over the summer, not counting what he did at the YMCA. The team captain and leader increased his strength in order to handle the bigger role. "He has to have a good year, but it's not all on him," Thomas said. "He's smart, driven and he cares about his teammates."

Newcomer to watch

Connor TenHove, So., C: The top player on the JV as a freshman, TenHove may be a future star, though he's going to have to learn how to swim in the deep end right away. "The best players in the conference weren't playing JV," Thomas said.

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