Vikings rebuilding around three talented juniors and two up-and-coming freshmen
With a new facility under construction, the Forest Grove boys basketball team wasnt able to find a lot of elbow room in the gym during pre-season practices. Often, the freshman, junior varsity and varsity teams all had to practice together at the same time.
The lack of quality practice time does not help the Vikings, who are a young team this season with two freshmen, two sophomores, four juniors and three seniors.
We look awfully young, Forest Grove coach Greg Evers says. We didnt have a chance to get this varsity crew by itself a whole lot. We were young anyway, but were playing young. Were not only young, were green, too.
The Vikings will have some talent, though.
The key to the team will be Michael Garcia, a 5-foot-5 junior point guard. Garcia has tenacity, ball-handling skills, an ability to shoot and a motor that has been refined on the cross country course.
The main focal point of our team is Michael Garcia, Evers says. Hes a returning honorable mention all-conference kid. We win a couple more games last year, hes probably on the second team all-conference. Hes very small at 5-5, but quicker than snot and can shoot.
Michael is going to be one of the better players in the league this year as a junior, Evers added.
The Vikings will also have two other juniors to help Garcia in Zac Collins and John Cirlincione.
Collins is getting bigger and stronger, Evers says. Hes a 6-2 post for us. Hes a little bit undersized, but hes strong and hes quick and hes athletic.
Cirlincione is a 5-11 wing with great athletic ability who can play multiple spots for us, Evers says.
Forest Grove will also have two talented freshmen with 6-5 Ben Godfrey and 6-2 Taylor Jensen.
The two freshmen that we have are seasoned kids for being freshmen, Evers says. They pass the eye test one is a 6-5 post, the other one is a 6-2 point guard, long armed, maybe not as quick as you want at that position, but very heady and a very good player. They will have some growing pains for sure. But, theyre going to be good for us when its all said and done.
Theyre going to swing and play some JV, but theyre going to be a part of our game plan. We want those kids to play as many quarters for us as they can on any given night.
Evers is confident in the Vikings athleticism and ability to stretch out the court with their speed. He is hoping that shooting will also be a part of Forest Groves strength.
Im hoping that we can shoot the ball, Evers says. Were not going to be as big and strong inside as we have been in the last couple of years. But, were going to be quicker and be able to do more passing and running.
For a time, Evers says that the youth of the Vikings will dictate his expectations of the team. That said, he still expects his players to grow each day and he expects that growth will mean a better season than last year, when Forest Grove went 7-18 overall and 2-12 in Pacific Conference play.
(Expectations) will kind of get evaluated as we go, Evers says. It doesnt change my goals of having a better win-loss record and a better season than we did a year ago. Were still going to be more successful.
Weve got to make sure that our youngsters are taking as big of steps as possible even though we know that theyre going to be baby steps.