The Transylvania Times -

2017 Basketball Preview: New Coach, High Hopes For Blue Devils Basketball In 2017

 

November 30, 2017

Jeremiah Reed

The 2017 Brevard High School boys' basketball team.

With a new coach, a core group of returning playmakers and a bevy of new talent in the backcourt, the Brevard Blue Devils are poised to put together quite a season in 2017.

Jonathan Owen is less than a week into his tenure as new head coach for Brevard, but having served under previous coach David Siniard for the past few seasons, Owen is familiar with the personnel and said the transition has been smooth, so far.

"The kids have really tried to buy into my expectations. I really want the group to play with a passion. There are things you can control – like your attitude and your effort – and the kids are buying into that," he said.

Owen also credited his coaching staff and the Brevard basketball community for their support over the past week.

"The game against Enka we had one of the better turnouts we've had in a long time. A lot of people have came up to me and said, 'We support you.' So that community support has been great," Owen said.

Having worked under Siniard for several seasons, Owen undoubtedly picked up some things from his predecessor, but also brings his own strategy and coaching style to the sideline.

"Our biggest emphasis is going to be defense and we're not where I want to be. But that's to be expected since I've only been there a short time. We're going to get after it. We're going to rotate when we need to rotate and we're going to communicate. Whether it's on the offensive end or defensive end, we have to stay in constant communication," he said.

Owen is also looking for that defense to translate into fast-break opportunities and likes the ball-handling ability of his team to push the floor.

"We're athletic enough that I want to push the ball and create easy buckets. That all starts on the defensive end. With this group, I think we're deeper than in years past. We've got at least nine guys that we can put on the floor and there shouldn't be a drop-off," he said.

Some of the big names among the returners are Aiden Green, Breylan Owens and Dylan Troyer, all juniors.

Owens is one of Brevard's best scoring threats, having finished second on the team last season with 10.7 points per game.

Green and Troyer are the Blue Devils' biggest bodies and finished first and third, respectively, in rebounds last season.

That core trio has two years of varsity experience under their collective belt and Owen will be looking to them for leadership and production.

"The thing that has impressed me most about Breylan is his work on the defensive end. He's obviously a scorer and he shoots the ball well, but he's really bought into defending and he's a good enough athlete that he can defend the other team's best player most nights," he said.

In regards to Green and Troyer, Owen said Green's athleticism combined with his physical stature makes him an imposing force on the floor and praised Troyer for his scrappy play and ability to fight for loose balls and rebounds.

"I've told Aiden there's no reason that he shouldn't come close to a double-double every night. Dylan is one of those kids that just works super hard," Owen said.

The Blue Devils also have a host of young talent to work with at the guard position.

Some of the varsity additions include Carter McCracken, Jakari Thomp- son, Sammy Bradley, Caden Norris and Jackson Whitt.

Four of those five were part of Brevard's highly successful jayvee team from last season and Owen said, aside from their physical talent, he's excited to see them bring that winning attitude with them to the varsity level.

"Those guys had a great season last year and they bring a little bit of intensity of wanting to maintain that winning culture that they started at the jayvee level. They're still adjusting to the speed and physicality of a varsity sport compared to the jayvee level, but they're playing great and with Caden and Jakari, I'll watch them and forget that they're sophomores," he said.

Bradley is the newest face for the Blue Devils after coming in as a transfer.

He brings a solid frame to the floor at 6'0" and 185 pounds and has already embraced a starting role with Brevard.

"Sammy is a strong ball-handler, but he can also help us on the defensive end because he's one of our quicker kids. He's a good athlete and can move his feet well," he said.

So far this season, Brevard is 2-2, having won two of their first three games under Owen.

The schedule is fairly back-heavy with conference opponents and the Blue Devils will go a whole month without a home game from late December to January.

They also enter the new Mountain Six Conference this season, which includes four of their regular rivals along with the addition of Hendersonville.

Pisgah is the top returning team, in terms of last year's results.

Smoky Mountain was also near the top while Brevard, Franklin and East Henderson finished near the bottom.

Owen said Smoky was a young team last season and should return several playmakers. East Henderson features standout Chris Hemphill.

Throw a talented Hendersonville squad into the mix and the conference should be exciting and feature plenty of close games.

"All the teams we play in the conference are going to be competitive. Pisgah and Smoky Mountain are always going to be tough. Our goal every year is to take things game by game and try to improve every day, but I think I would be doing this group a disservice if I didn't say our goal is ultimately a conference championship. If the guys buy in, they play together and they trust us as coaches, I think we've got a good shot," Owen said.

 
 

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