Cardinal graduated four starters from last season leaving the Huskies relatively young and inexperienced.
But, head coach Jon Cummins is confident he has the talent to be competitive in the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division. Returning starter Matt Carney and sixth-man Rob Bruncak return and should provide the Huskies with the leadership they need as the younger players develop.
“We have two players that saw regular playing time last year,” Cummins said. “Matt Carney, who has started since his sophomore year, is extremely athletic. He can knock down a jumper or use one of his crafty moves to get to the basket. We also have our leading scorer back in Robbie Bruncak. He can knock down 3s from the parking lot and create easy scoring opportunities for his teammates. With the play of these two young men, our team has a chance to win a lot of games this year.”
The key for Cummins and Co. is quickly acclimating the newcomers to the intensity of the varsity game.
“The speed of the game at the varsity level is always different for the new varsity players,” Cummins said. “We scheduled some tough scrimmages to test our kids, so I hope to be up to speed for our first game on the 30th.”
Bruncak, a 6-foot-2 shooting guard, is on pace to break all of Cardinal’s 3-point shooting records. He finished last season with 13.1 points, 2.5 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game in earning honorable mention all-conference and all-district honors.
Carney, a 6-foot-2 guard/forward, finished the year averaging 12 points, 2.4 assists, 4.6 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks per contest.
“(Bruncak) has a high basketball IQ and can shoot from anywhere on the court,” Cummins said. “Matt can get his points in the paint or from behind the arc. His leadership will be key to our success.”
Rounding out the projected starting lineup are senior Brice Hogue, junior Casey Horner and senior Austin Miller.
Hogue, a 5-foot-9 guard, was Cardinal’s seventh man last winter.
“If Brice can come back from his football injury quick, he can give fits to a lot of team at both ends of the floor with his aggressiveness and athleticism,” Cummins said.
Horner, a 5-foot-8 guard, will replace three-year starting point guard Luke Timas. Miller, a 6-foot-3 center, will provide the Huskies with some length in the paint.
“Casey is the hardest working player in our program. Every day he is working to get better and learning how to run a senior-heavy team,” Cummins said. “Austin is also coming off a soccer/football injury. He plays with every ounce of his body on every play. He’s hardworking and determined to win every play.”
Cummins also expects contributions from Rob Granny, Tyson Sinclair, Jon Heredos and Dan Heredos.
Granny, a 6-foot-3 senior center, has the potential to make a big impact this winter and Sinclair, a 5-foot-9 senior guard, is back after taking a year off from the sport.
“Rob has come a long way since last season. If he keeps up the hard work in practice and translates that in our game plan, he can be a big factor in our team’s success this year,” Cummins said. “After taking a year off from basketball last year, Tyson will have the opportunity to help our team this year. His athleticism is off the charts. He could be a great lockdown defender.”
Jon Heredos is a 6-foot senior guard while Dan is a 6-foot-3 senior forward.
“Jon has the ability to change games with his 3-point shot. We look for him to come into games and stretch the defense,” Cummins said. “Dan is a long 6-3. He can defend any player on the floor.”
If the Huskies, who have 10 seniors on the roster, quickly acclimate to the speed and intensity of the varsity game and they compete on both ends of the floor they can achieve their goals this winter.