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Kingsmen plan on making some noise


Three veterans and a talented freshman point guard give the Kingsmen high hopes

by: JOHN DENNY - Putnam senior leaders (from left) Drew ODell, Austin Klein and Calvin Spencer believe the Kingsmen can give the top teams in the Northwest Oregon Conference a run for their money in 2014.With the return of three experienced players and the edition of a highly skilled freshman point guard, the Rex Putnam Kingsmen have high aspirations for the 2013-14 Northwest Oregon Conference boys basketball season.

“We have set our goals very high because these are the type of kids who are very goal-oriented,” said Putnam coach Gregg Griffin. “They set their goals high in the classroom, as well as on the basketball floor.... We think we can compete with every team in the league.”

“Our goals are to be the best in the league and improve in every game,” said Putnam senior Austin Klein. “To keep moving forward, no steps back. That’s our motto this year.”

“We have a lot of skill,” said senior Calvin Spencer. “We have the players that can [win league] this year. We like the position we’re in. We’re here to shock the world.”

“The seniors on this team have played together since fourth grade,” said Klein. “We know each other’s tendencies and we play well together. With the edition of David [Vasquez] as our new point guard, we expect to have a pretty good year.”

by: PHOTO BY JON HOUSE - Putnam freshman standout David Vasquez puts a shot up in last weeks game with Reynolds. The 6-0 point guard has 49 points in the Kingsmens first two games.Vasquez, a 6-0 freshman, scored 30 points and made 10 assists in the Kingsmen’s first game, a 65-62 win over Woodburn.

“He’s a very, very talented young man,” Griffin said of Vasquez. “And he’s just scratching the surface of his ability. I don’t know that he’s going to score 30 points every game this season, but he’s going to do a lot of scoring.”

“We’re going to score a lot more points this year,” said Spencer. “David is consistent. He distributes the ball and makes smart plays, and he’s a quick learner....”

Klein (6-9 post), Spencer (6-1 wing) and senior Drew O’Dell (6-3 wing) all saw starting action on varsity last year. They started in Putnam’s season opener with Woodburn, along with Vasquez and sophomore Kane Stephens (6-3 post), giving the Kingsmen a starting lineup with all five players standing 6-foot or better. Klein is three inches taller than he was a year ago.

Other players likely to see a good deal of playing time this season include seniors Dylan Knoth (5-10 wing/point guard) and Brad Foster (6-5 post), and sophomores Jake Hamilton (6-2 wing/post) and Alex Reese (5-8 point guard).

“We’ve got excellent post play and excellent guard play,” said Griffin. “And with Austin, Calvin and Drew, we’ve got great senior leadership. They excel in the classroom, as well as on the athletic field.”

“I feel really good [about our prospects],” said Klein. “We held our own in our first two games [with Woodburn and Reynolds], and Reynolds is a good team.”

The Kingsmen lost to the Reynolds Raiders 81-64, after falling behind 28-9 in the first quarter.

“We couldn’t break their press,” said Klein. “It’s something we hadn’t worked on.”

“We’ve been working on the press break this week in practice,” said Spencer. “If we played them again, I’m sure it would be a lot different.”

Next game for Putnam is a home game with Aloha, scheduled for 7:15 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 3.

The Kingsmen begin Northwest Oregon Conference league play on Jan. 14, when they entertain Sherwood.

“Sherwood and Wilsonville are probably the preseason favorites,” said Griffin. “They were both really young last year.”

“People who come out this year and watch us will be in for a treat,” said Spencer. “We’re a lot better team than we were last year.”