Midyear transfers could be the key to Angels’ success
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.