Boys Basketball Preview: Eagles remain loaded despite key losses off last year’s 23-1 team

 

When the Skyline boys’ basketball team takes the floor this season two familiar faces will be missing – Brandon Wade and Jack Ammerman. The two guards are gone, leaving behind a program they helped build into a state powerhouse during the course of their four-year varsity careers.

But no one is going to feel sorry for the Eagles, who went 23-1 last year with the only loss to Novi in a Regional final. Skyline is not rebuilding this season but reloading behind a solid group of returning players who bring skill and experience along with some talented newcommers.

We should be a very good defensive and offensive team,” says Skyline coach Mike Lovelace, now in his 11th season leading the basketball program. “We have players with a lot of defensive potential and hopefully a good mix of players to be a great defensive team. We should be able to pressure the ball with great help side defense and rim protection. We also have players with strong offensive ability with an inside and outside game.

“If we play to our strengths on both ends of the court with our high talent level, we will be very strong.”

PIONEER BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW: https://weloveannarbor.com/2018/11/26/boys-basketball-preview-pioneers-race-into-new-season-with-very-high-expectations/

And the keys to success?

“We will have to work hard to be a strong rebounding team and we will have to play strong fundamental team defense,” Lovelace said. “We will have to play to our strengths on the offensive end.”

One of those strengths on the offensive end is senior Ryan Wade (6-3 senior forward) who recently committed to Holy Cross. Wade, All-SEC First Team last year, is an outstanding defender and three-point shooter who has developed into a more physical player that can also rebound and has improved his slashing to the basket.

DeSean Munson (6-7 senior) also returns for Skyline and brings outstanding athleticism running the court, finishing at the basket, and rebounding and blocking shots at the rim.

“He plays above the rim,” Lovelace said. “He can defend multiple positions including guards with his incredible agility for his size. He is really developing as an interior offensive threat and is able to take people off the dribble from the perimeter. He’s a very exciting and dynamic player.”

Kabir Bergin (6-5 junior) returns from last season’s team. The small forward is an outstanding outside shooter behind the arc and has very strong interior post moves and footwork. “He’s very in control on the court, excellent awareness and confidence,” Lovelace said. “He positions himself very well for rebounding and takes care of the ball and is improving on his defensive skills and physicality.”

Chris Cayton (5-11 sophomore) will help run the point this season. “He’s an outstanding on-ball defender and he works extremely hard on the defensive end,” Lovelace said. “He is exceptional for his age at breaking people down off the dribble and attacking the basket and is much improved on his outside shooting behind the arc.”

Key support players this season include senior Jaylin Cooper who is a very quick and explosive player who is gaining confidence; senior Robert Malcolm Jr who is an excellent defender who is gaining confidence on the offensive end; and  senior Spencer Morgan who is a very dependable and hard-working player who will not back down from anyone.

The Eagles open the season Thursday, Nov. 29 at home against Novi.

 

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