The Fallon boys basketball team has a new look this season.
While several players graduated or left, Brad Barton took the reins from Chip Rutledge and aims to build from last year’s 17-9 campaign.
While Rutledge preferred the up-tempo, run-and-gun style offense, Barton will run more set offenses focusing on screens and cuts for easy baskets.
“We have some really good basketball players that Chip did a good job of getting ready,” Barton said. “Hopefully, we can take it from where he left off and be successful, maybe a little bit better.”
Fallon kicks off the season Thursday at the Legacy Tip-Off Classic in Las Vegas.
Barton’s offensive philosophy centers on creating a triple threat. Instead of creating off the dribble, he wants to open passing lanes and allow his players numerous options of getting to the basket or taking the open jump shot.
“We want to create mismatches and create stranded defensive players with our movement,” Barton added. “We are looking for a high percentage shot from a high percentage player.”
Defensively, Barton wants to mix his schemes up as much as possible. The Wave will incorporate a 3-2 and 2-3 zone, man-to-man and some full-court press.
“We’re not going to stay in a press the whole game,” Barton said. “We’re going to run a lot of zone. Our whole philosophy is to protect the rim because that’s where the points happen.”
The Greenwave’s nucleus centers on junior forward Jeff Evett, a silky-smooth, 6-foot-5 shooter who can post up or step outside. Evett led the club with 12.8 points per game and added 6.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and was second with 25 blocks.
This year, though, he will be without his wingman, LaDamien Crawley, who transferred due to his father’s Navy commitment.
Nevertheless, despite Fallon’s young core, they do possess experience. Nine of the 13 players have varsity experience and had a solid season last year that ended with a 66-54 loss to South Tahoe in the playoffs.
This year, though, Barton aims for a top three finish and challenging league powers Lowry and Elko.
“I think we want to make playoffs and be one of the top four seeds,” junior forward Ryan Stockard said. “With the new coaches, we really need to buy in with what they are teaching us. Just work as a team because I think we have the talent to be one of the top four teams in the North.
Evett, meanwhile, is the focal point of the offense with a versatile game allowing him to get to the basket or step outside. In the post, however, Barton said he looks for scoring from 6-5 senior center Beau Marshall, who averaged 9.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and led the club with 38 blocks last season.
“If we build and structure our offense around those two guys, then we’ll be in pretty good shape,” Barton said.
Fallon’s youth, meanwhile, is an area of excitement for Barton. Loaded with freshmen and sophomores, those players are one year older with varsity experience.
Barton kept many of this year’s freshmen and sophomores on the freshmen and JV team to build for the future.
The varsity players, though, provide role players and experience to allow creative substitutions for Barton.
“We don’t have any holes there either,” he said. “We are solid and we are deep. We got good ball handling skills and good basketball IQ’s.”
Up front doing the dirty work of rebounding and chasing down loose balls are junior forwards Stockard, Joe Pyle and David Ford, junior center Bradlee Stands and sophomore center Nolin Rusk.
Creating offense and setting the tone defensively are senior guards Allen Laranang, Tristen Salazar and Mike Nash, junior guards Tyler Bagby and Branden Turner and sophomore Connor Richardson.
As for the coaching staff, Evett said the club is settling in learning the new system.
“They are pretty different with more set offense,” Evett said. “I like the set offense. Almost everybody can play every position on this team.”