2022-23 Woodstock Academy boys basketball preview
Donte Adams took up the mantle as the head coach of the Woodstock Academy boys basketball team last spring.
It has taken awhile but he is finally on the court working with his new program.
“I’m definitely excited,” Adams said. “I wouldn’t say nervous but anxious. Anxious because I know the guys are really excited, they know it’s a new spirit and they know everything has to be earned. I’m a ‘show me’ coach, I don’t like the talking. They know they have to go out and show me and we’re going to have fun, too, working hard.”
Adams comes over from the prep basketball program at Woodstock Academy to take on the role of head coach of the varsity high school team.
It means he comes in with a fresh outlook and only some knowledge of his players on the court.
He even has less insight into those teams the Centaurs will be facing.
“I don’t know the opponents too well and you can’t look them up that much but I wouldn’t mind traveling and going to some games. I’ve been watching games from last year and seeing who is returning (from the opponent’s side) and it’s all a part of game planning. We’re going to be in the classroom watching film as much as we’re going to be on the court,” Adams said.
Woodstock Academy tri-captain Brandon Nagle said it’s a new beginning with Adams being joined by former Blue prep basketball coach Denzel Washington with the varsity program.
“It’s a different scenario. They are creating more energy,” the senior said.
The Centaurs are coming off a three-win season and will remain in Division II of the Eastern Connecticut Conference this season. Waterford (19-7 last year) and Ledyard (14-10) also remain in Division II while Fitch (7-15) comes down from Division I and Windham (21-7) moves up from Division III to join the Division II ranks.
“We are striving to be much better than last year,” Nagle said. “We have to stay as a team this year, stick together and work hard every day.”
The Centaurs did lose some key players including leading scorer Ethan Davis (12.3 points per game) who was able to play in only three games due to injury.
Parker Anderson (10.3 ppg and a team-best 23 3-pointers), Jackson Goetz (6.3), Huck Flanagan, Hamilton Barnes and Everett Michalski also graduated.
But the Centaurs should have a good inside-outside punch with 6-foot-6-inch sophomore Brady Ericson leading the way.
“He’s worked a lot in the offseason and I worked with him, too. He is maturing and I think he’s going to be very good this year,” Nagle said.
Ericson played in 16 games last year but only saw significant minutes toward the end of his freshman season.
He finished with a 6.4 points per game average, with 5 ½ rebounds per game and he was also able to stretch the defense as he stepped outside and hit four 3-pointers.
“(The varsity time) came kind of late for him but I think it was good for him because he matured. He’s still young, only a sophomore, but we’re going to need him to play like a senior. We’re looking for a big year from him,” Adams said.
Adams said he needs Ericson to be strong on the defensive end, but also expects him to have some break out offensive performances for the Centaurs.
Ericson is not the only big body up front for Woodstock Academy this season.
James D’Aleva Bochain, a 6-5 forward/center, will join him in the front court as will senior Carter Morissette and juniors Hunter Larson and newcomer Teddy Richardson all of whom stand 6-2.
Nagle is the top returning scorer (7.4 ppg) and 3-point threat (12).
“We can go inside-out,”Adams said.”Our guards can really hit the outside shot, can handle (the ball), and get downhill to create plays for others. I’m lucky to have the two bigs inside and our guards being capable of hitting from the outside.”
In addition to Nagle, Jackson Gallagher and Braiden Saucier also return in the backcourt.
Saucier has been cleared to play after suffering a medical emergency that ended his football season in the first game of the year.
“I’m happy to have him back. He would have been missed. From the defensive aspect and as a floor leader, we need him. He will be as key to us pressing the ball,” Adams said.
Senior Austin Amlaw, junior Eric Mathewson and sophomore Garrett Bushey will also see time in the backcourt for the Centaurs.
“We’re very excited. We’re all waiting for the games to start and we will be prepared,”Nagle said.
The Centaurs open on Thursday at home against Fitch in a 7 p.m. game at the Alumni Fieldhouse.