Red Raiders building a foundation

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Bishop Thomas

Harvey’s boys’ basketball team opens the 2017-2018 season with four returning starters and several others with varsity experience.

Sixth-year head coach Dave Wojciechowski is encouraged by what he’s seen in the preseason and confident the Red Raiders are building a solid foundation for years to come.

“I like our group,” Wojciechowski said. “We have a group of guys who truly like and respect each other. We have guys with high character and a good hard work ethic; this will be the foundation for which we build on. Our guys have a spirit to compete and are willing to do whatever is necessary for the team to be successful. Although we have guys back, we are still a young team at heart. We will be learning on a daily basis. I look for the season to continually get better as we build daily on our goals.”

Harvey’s strength lies in its team speed and the Red Raiders will use that quickness to keep opposing teams on their heels.

It all starts with sophomore guard Bishop Thomas, who averaged 15.4 points, 4.5 rebound and 3.3 assists per game last year on his way to earning second team All-Chagrin Valley Conference honors.

“Bishop is a very talented player with great leadership skills,” Wojciechowski said. “He will be counted on in a big way for us this year. Bishop has the potential to play at the next level and we are excited for his future.”

Other projected starters include sophomore forward Devon “Woo” Holbert, sophomore guard Tyrelle Early, junior guard Daylin “Day Day” Davis and junior combo guard David Dobbins.

Holbert averaged 8.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. He was named honorable mention All-CVC.

“Devon had a great offseason,” Wojciechowski said. “He worked hard on his shot and his playmaking ability. He is a tremendous athlete who loves to compete. He also shows great leadership ability as he was the starting quarterback on the football team. We’re expecting big things from Woo this season.”

Early averaged 8.1 points and 2.8 assists per game last winter.

“Tyrelle is a good shooter and fierce competitor,” Wojciechowski said. “This competitive spirit will be counted on for us this season as we are looking forward to seeing the hard work Tyrelle put forth this offseason pay dividends.”

Davis averaged 7.1 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game in 2016-2017.

“Day Day could be a difference maker for us,” Wojciechowski said. “He has a motor that does not stop. He has the capabilities of shooting the ball and attacking off the dribble. We are looking for Day Day to have a very successful year.”

Dobbins will see his first varsity action this season.

“David is a talented young player who is gaining valuable experience every day he steps on the floor,” Wojciechowski said. “He has the ability to do many things on the court and has the potential to have a very good season.”

Wojciechowski is counting on senior combo guard Desmond “DJ” Taylor, junior guard Jordan Walter and sophomore guard Jalen Cunningham to provide quality depth for the Red Raiders.

Taylor averaged 5.7 points and 3.4 rebounds per game last winter.

“DJ had a very good junior year for us,” Wojciechowski said. “He will see plenty of time and also has the potential to start and have a very good year. His experience will be very helpful as we move throughout the season and we are looking for him to play a significant role for us.”

Walter dropped in 3.5 points and pulled down 2.0 rebounds per contest while Cunningham played on the JV squad.

“Jordan will be counted on to provide great energy and enthusiasm off the bench for us. He has the ability to attack the basket and shoot the ball. He is a relentless defender that we hope becomes contagious within our program,” Wojciechowski said. “Jalen is learning daily. He has the chance to be a major contributor as this season progresses and his career here progresses. His understanding of the game is very clear. We are looking forward to watching him this season and in the future.”

To improve on its 9-15 record from last year, Harvey must focus on the key fundamental of the game.

“We as a team will need to rebound and be physical to be successful,” Wojciechowski said. “We will also need to continue with the proper mentality within the locker room to be successful. We will need to work hard daily, come daily with a coachable/teachable spirit, be young men of great integrity, and have a team-first attitude. We need to attain, or strive to attain, these four qualities on a daily basis.”

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The creator and publisher of OhioVarsity.com, Hare has covered high school sports in Northeast Ohio since 1997. He began as a correspondent for the Lake County News Herald, where he contributed until 2011, primarily covering high school football and wrestling. In 1999, Hare began writing for IrishIllustrated.com, a member of the Scout.com network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. OhioVarsity.com was created in 2004 and was a member of the Rivals.com network until 2012. The site's original purpose was to cover Ohio high school football and recruiting news but since has grown to cover all sports and to provide sports information services to high school athletic programs and individual teams. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.