Midyear trans­fers could be the key to An­gels’ suc­cess

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Kyle New­man Kyle New­man: 303-954-1773 knew­man@den­ver­post.com or @KyleNew­manDP

Win­ner of the Gojo Sports Tipoff Clas­sic to open the sea­son, the No. 8 Den­ver East boys basketball team is 4-0 and look­ing strong de­spite los­ing its top two scor­ers last sea­son to grad­u­a­tion. Den­ver Post preps ed­i­tor Kyle New­man caught up with long­time An­gels coach Rudy Carey to dis­cuss his team’s per­for­mance, his thoughts on re­tire­ment and more. Q: Con­sid­er­ing your team’s tour­na­ment vic­tory to open the sea­son,

how are you feel­ing about your squad early on? A: I’m pretty sat­is­fied with their play — they’ve been work­ing hard and have done a good job even though we’re miss­ing some kids. The guys that are play­ing are play­ing well, and I couldn’t ask any more of them. Q: Who are the trans­fers that you’re wait­ing on to be­come el­i­gi­ble

half­way through the sea­son? A: Daylen Kountz came from Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton, Ja’Shawn Chisel came over from Ven­ture Prep and Jami­son Wash­ing­ton came from Lin­coln. They’re all go­ing to be big for us when they be­come el­i­gi­ble. Q: I know you lost quite a bit of tal­ent from the 2016 se­nior class with the grad­u­a­tion of Jack Buck­melter and Day­tone Jen­nings. Who are some play­ers who have stepped up and filled that void this sea­son? A: Joseph Abi­akam has played well, as has Scotty Wiese, Asane Diouf, Kwane Mar­ble and Alex May. Those five have been our starters, and those five have been play­ing pretty good basketball for us against some tough teams in tour­na­ment play. Q: What are your ex­pec­ta­tions this sea­son con­sid­er­ing the tal­ent you al­ready have on the floor, plus the trans­fer tal­ent that will be around later? A: We have the chance to be pretty good. I’m op­ti­mistic, be­cause I think our kids work ex­tremely hard and that, along with our tal­ent, can take us far. Q: What are some other keys? A: Chem­istry is al­ways a main fo­cus here, and we have to get bet­ter each prac­tice and each game so that we’re play­ing our best basketball come (state) tour­na­ment time. Q: Con­sid­er­ing the tra­di­tion you have built with this pro­gram, does

past suc­cess put pres­sure on your team to per­form each sea­son? A: We’ve cre­ated a cul­ture of suc­cess here, and our kids ex­pect to be suc­cess­ful and they ex­pect to win. We don’t go out hop­ing to win, we go out ex­pect­ing to win — and as a coach­ing staff, we hold our play­ers to those high ex­pec­ta­tions each sea­son. Q: What did this sea­son’s team take away from last sea­son, when the

An­gels went 17-9 and made it to the Class 5A Sweet 16? A: We have some ex­pe­ri­ence un­der our belt, and now those re­turn­ers have the op­por­tu­nity to be lead­ers and im­part last sea­son’s ex­pe­ri­ence on the younger kids. Q: Who do you see chal­leng­ing Den­ver East for the Den­ver Prep

League ti­tle? A: Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton, Far North­east and Den­ver South will be very good. I think those teams are the main ones we’ll have to com­pete with for a league ti­tle. Q: In your 40th year of coach­ing — and with nine state cham­pi­onships on your ré­sumé, three at Man­ual and six at Den­ver East — is re­tire­ment in your mind? A: I haven’t set a spe­cific timetable for that, but I know I’m wind­ing down. I’m prob­a­bly look­ing at two or three more years of coach­ing, then I’ll re­tire. But for now, I’m fo­cused on this sea­son and the po­ten­tial our team has.

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