There must be a bit of craziness in the coaching staff for the Juneau-Douglas High School boy’s basketball team. How else can you explain graduating nine seniors, including all five starters (three of which are playing college basketball, two college baseball and one college cross country running), and then lining up one of the toughest schedules around the league?
Maybe that is how those college athletes got to be college athletes.
The Crimson Bears were 22-6 last season, won the Region V championship, and finished fourth at the state tournament. They will face some of the state’s best competition this year, including multiple qualifiers from the state tourney last season (Colony, Dimond, Bartlett, Wasilla, Lathrop), as well as the revamped Thunder Mountain squad.
The JDHS staff is head coach Robert Casperson; assistants Kevin Casperson, Steve Houlihan, Greg Huebschen, and Akeem Micheli; and managers Anna Ham and Elijah Marks.
The returning players in the JDHS program will have their work cut out for them and it will not be an easy task to step in and fill the void left by graduation. There is a legacy of respect, responsibility, and discipline for the returning players to emulate.
The 2012-2013 Crimson Bears will have a “youthful” appearance. They return five players from last yr.’s varsity roster (six if you count transfer Keith Ainsworth’s varsity experience at cross-town rival TMHS).
Inside are seniors Jeffrey Pusich (6-foot-5, 205) and Gary Speck (6-foot-4, 218) and sophomore Bruce Jones 6-foot-6, 168). Last years daily practice grind against senior teammates has put them into a position to be dominant big men. Any one of the three, if not all three can make life miserable for opponents both physically and with point production. This team should be able to bang with bigger squads and, as the season progresses, work deeper and more effectively along the bench.
Senior Jackson Lehnhart (5-foot-10, 160) has already shown he is a crossover sport talent, taking his soccer legs to the football grind and now continuing to improve on the hardwood. Senior Aquino Brinson (5-foot-10, 140) also brings football macho and is likewise willing, and able to step up to the challenges this season will provide.
Ainsworth (6-foot-3, 183) is dynamic, athletic and, most importantly, unselfish. Ainsworth is a tough defensive assignment. The transfer from TMHS will fill multiple positions that have graduated or cannot play.
The biggest void is the loss of senior Phillip Fenumiai (6-foot-3, 210) to a knee injury in the first game of the football season. The state’s top player on the field and one of the best on the court will be the Crimson Bears’ Student Assistant. Fenumiai’s knowledge of the game, preparing for competition, and the JDHS system, along with his respect among peers will be the most interesting part of the season to enjoy... aside from the season play.
Seniors Brenyn Marshall (6-foot, 180) and Ben Williams (6-foot, 165) have shown some very exciting athleticism and toughness as they return to hoops from other disciplines.
Juniors Kevin Guimmayen (5-foot-6, 156) and Dartanan Hodge-Campos (6-foot, 160) have moved up from junior varsity and are looking to gain experience and contribute when called upon.
Sophomores Adam Empson (6-foot-1, 155), Manase Maake (5-foot-8, 130), John Yadao (5-3, 130), Nathan Klein (6-foot-2, 190), and Gunnar Shultz (5-11, 145) will be vying for spots in the varsity rotation. All of them have the chance to see time, IF, they keep working and progressing like they have in practices.
Coach’s comments - Our 24-game regular season schedule will provide ample opportunity to learn, grow, and improve as the year progresses We have 13 home games, which begin with our first challenge of the season against West Anchorage (Friday/Saturday). We are also proud to announce the return of the Capital City Classic after a one-year hiatus. This will be the 22nd year for the CCC and features JDHS, Sitka, Fairbanks’ West Valley, and East Anchorage on the boy’s side (JDHS, East, Anchorage Christian, and Sitka on the girls). The group of young men that have been selected to represent Juneau Basketball will prove to be an exciting and entertaining bunch to watch. We encourage everyone to come to the games and be a part of the action.