Lutheran West opens the 2019-2020 season with three returning starters and high hopes for its debut season in the Chagrin Valley Conference.
The Longhorns, who finished 8-15 overall and 5-11 in the Patriot Athletic Conference last winter, will compete in the CVC Metro Division.
“We feel our squad is a group that is willing to learn and get better every day,” second-year head coach Nick Gallo said. “If we can continue to keep this mindset of effort, we will give ourselves a chance to win every night. We feel we have a rotation of players that can dribble, pass, and shoot. We will try to play at a pace that will allow us to get early offense.”
While the Longhorns return plenty of depth from last season, they aren’t the tallest bunch so effort and fundamentals will play a key role in their success.
“Our roster is small, so rebounding technique will be a point of emphasis,” Gallo said. “But, our goal will be to put our players in adverse situations to learn how to combat these types of challenges.”
Lutheran West’s returning starters include Jalen Barnes, Jimmy Browning and Tyler Robinson.
Barnes, a 5-foot-10 guard, averaged 16.6 points and four rebounds per game in earning first-team All-PAC honors.
“Jalen’s ability to be a playmaker for us will be a key this season,” Gallo said. “His ability to get his own shot and create shots for others will be a key part of our offense success.”
Browning, a 6-foot-2 forward, averaged 6.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game last year. He was named honorable mention All-PAC.
“Jimmy will be a major leader for us this season,” Gallo said. “As a player who started 23 games last year, Jimmy can learn from the highs and lows last year to have a great year.”
Robinson, a 6-foot-1 guard, finished the 2018-2019 season with 4.7 points and 2.0 rebounds per game.
“Tyler’s ability to shoot the three will be a key to our offense,” Gallo said. “He is also a great cutter, which allows our offense to keep moving.”
Juniors Tyler DeSimpelare and Jake Parrella also are expected to start for the Longhorns.
DeSimpelare is a 5-foot-10 point guard while Parrella is a 6-foot-2 forward.
“Tyler loves basketball and will be someone who wants what is best for the team. His ability to push the ball and see the floor will allow our team to get easy baskets,” Gallo said. “Jake has natural-born leadership qualities. Jake’s ability to dribble, pass and shoot will be important.”
Providing depth are seniors Jonathan Bradley, a 5-foot-9 guard, Wyatt Harayda, a guard, Hunter Albers, a forward, Sebastian Cario, a 6-foot-3 forward, and Nolan Ragland, a 6-foot-1 forward, and junior Antonio Muniz, a 6-foot guard.