A look at South Central Boys Basketball
Coach: Joe Wagner, 5-18 in second year at S.C. and overall
Last year: 5-18 (1-6 Porter County Conference), lost to Triton in first round of Class A sectional
Key losses: Austen Sallee (6.7 ppg), Josh Sims (5.0 ppg), Jason Hughes (3.8 ppg), Carson Husmann (13.8 ppg)
Key returnees: Christy (3.6 ppg), Smoker (3.4 ppg), Glisic (3.1 ppg)
Top newcomers: Carr, Hudspeth, Schmack.
Outlook: S.C. graduated its second and third scorers and took another hit when Husmann, last year’s leading scorer, decided to focus on baseball through the winter. Smoker, Glisic and Christy have the most varsity experience though none of it is substantial. “Zack had the best offseason of anybody in the program,” Wagner said. “He worked on his handles, his shot. He has the ability to get in the lane and score off the bounce. He played in a spring league and gained some confidence. Trent’s gotten stronger. He’s capable of knocking down shots. Brady’s so physical. He’s got a motor to him. He plays really hard. He’ll get second-chance opportunities just from sheer effort, hustle.” Hudspeth was star of the team shot club Wagner started in August, recording over 5,000 makes in a couple months, and looks to provide a much-needed perimeter threat. “He’s improved a ton,” Wagner said. The Satellites’ sole senior is the bruising Schmack, a football and baseball star who last played basketball as a freshman. “He brings great leadership, getting kids to play hard,” Wagner said. “He’s learning on the fly. He’s like a freshman or sophomore in terms of basketball, but he’s very cerebral. He’s just so strong, he can rebound and he plays good post defense.” Carr, who averaged 16 points per game as a freshman on JV, could be a game changer. “He provides an inside presence we didn’t have last year,” Wagner said. “He played a lot of minutes in our sectional game and did a good job.” Osburn is out with a broken foot, forcing Wagner to dip into the freshman ranks for bench support. “We lost some guys in the offseason,” Wagner said. “We’re still working on changing our culture. We try to play extremely hard, be aggressive in what we do. In order to do that, you have to be well-conditioned, be strong mentally. I hate to sound like a coach from 50 years ago, but that’s what we have to do to compete here, and that’s just not for everybody. We’ve got to have guys who buy into that vision and trust what we’re trying to do. We’ve come a long way in a year, but we’re still not at the point where I want or need us to be.” If nothing else, the Satellites won’t lack in physicality. “Five of our top eight guys are football players and even the guys who don’t play football, you would think they did,” Wagner said. “We’ve got a lot of size and strength. It’ll be an enjoyable group to watch from the standpoint that we’re going to be physical with you, make you fight on cuts. We still want to put pressure on teams in transition. With our depth situation, one thing that concerns me is we can’t afford to get into foul trouble.” Wagner admits there will still be bumps in the road in his second year, but he likes the team’s up side. “We’re not going to light up the scoreboard. We have to try to get out and run to see if we can get early offense because it won’t always be easy to score the basketball,” he said. “We have to do a good job on the backboards and defensively. We still have to grow to make the program a consistent competitor, but what excites me about this group is it’s going to get better.”
-- Compiled by Jim Peters