Berkshire opens the 2018-2019 season with a new head coach and a better outlook following a disappointing season last winter.
The Badgers return eight players with varsity experience and who have worked very hard in the preseason to prepare for the Ryan Dickard era.
“I feel that our squad has the potential to have a very successful season,” said Dickard, who comes to Berkshire from Southington Chalker. “We have a good nucleus of student-athletes that work hard in the classroom and on the court.”
Berkshire will rely on its depth, tempo and ability to push the pace to keep up with Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division foes this winter.
“Challenges we expect to encounter this year center around our lack of height and athleticism,” Dickard said. “We have many schools in our conference that are significantly bigger and/or more athletic than us so we must learn to combat these deficiencies with attention to detail, fundamentals, and basketball IQ.”
The Badgers do have their fair share of senior leaders.
Justin Barabar, Ky Bowman, Bobby Czekaj, Sam Hanson, Jacob Kastor, Forrest Kuchling, Sam Roach, Zach Yokules and Jacob Young provide the foundation for the Badgers.
Barabar, Bowman, Kuchling and Roach all are 5-foot-8 guards.
“(Barabar) is a talented individual who flashes great skills each day in practice,” Dickard said. “(Bowman) is a tireless worker who goes 100-percent in all things he does–great character, role model, and represents all the good things about Berkshire. “(Kuchling) exemplifies the model student-athlete. He works hard on his studies and game in order to be the best he can be. He is coming off an immensely successful golf season and we hope that success carries over from the links to the court. (Roach) is a talented individual who has the ability to play a pivotal role on the team. He’s a balanced offensive player who can do many things well on that end.”
Czekaj and Yokules both are 5-foot-9 guards.
“(Czekaj) has a bulldog mentality. He’s a gritty, hard-nosed player who leads by example. He’s a key rotational player on last year’s team that we will rely on this year,” Dickard said. “(Yokules) is a unique first-year player that has a confidence of a grizzled vet.”
Young is a 5-foot-6 guard.
“He is an intelligent player who has a knack for making the right play at the right time,” Dickard said. “He’s the quintessential glue guy.”
Hanson is a 6-foot-5 forward while Kastor is a 6-foot guard/forward.
“(Hanson) is a stalwart around the basket. He’s a strong, smart player who takes well to coaching and eager to learn,” Dickard said. “(Kastor) is our Swiss army knife. He fills a lot of roles for us and does so with a smile on his face.
Junior Jake Sinkenbring, a 5-foot-10 guard, and sophomores Jake Brown and Levi Sell also will compete for minutes this winter.
“(Sinkenbring) is an immensely skilled individual,” Dickard said. “He shows up every day ready to compete and does a great job leading by example and bringing out the best in others.”
Brown is a 5-foot-10 guard and Sell is a 6-foot-4 forward.
“(Brown) is a fast learner with great court vision. We have high expectations for him and look forward to having him on the team for the next three years,” Dickard said. “(Sell) has great potential. He’s a long, active and skilled big who is only scratching the surface on the type of player he can end up being.”
Berkshire’s keys to success this season are playing fast, smart and disciplined to maximize their talent and limit mistakes. If that happens, the Badgers will be competitive in league play.
“I believe if we compete like crazy, use our intellect, and work hard every day, that we will then have a great opportunity to be successful,” Dickard said.