Tuesday, November 29, 2005
When discussing this year's Steamboat Springs boys basketball team, senior Scott Peterson sounds like one of those NBA Draft gurus.
"We've got a lot of upside," he said.
Peterson is the lone returning starter for the 2005 season, meaning Steamboat has to replace its primary ball handlers, primary scorers and primary rebounders.
To do that, the Sailors will turn to players with limited varsity experience. Three of those players will be sophomores Mike Vandahl, Colby Kostur and Aaron Calkins, and coach Kelly Meek is asking them to play beyond their years.
"Those three have been highly dedicated and are teachable and coachable," he said.
Steamboat also will turn to seniors Dillon Jenkins and transfer Mitch Bryden for scoring and leadership.
"This kid will fit in," Peterson said about Bryden, who moved from California.
After passing the 500-win milestone last season with a talented team that won the Western Slope League championship, Meek enters what most would consider a rebuilding year, but the coach of 32 years doesn't use the word or believe in it.
"I don't plan on starting slow," Meek said.
It helps that the Sailors don't have a choice. Steamboat opens the season Friday against D'Evelyn, one of the picks to win the Class 4A title. The Jaguars also were the team that ended the Sailors' remarkable postseason run last year.
Steamboat follows up with Roaring Fork on Saturday at the Roaring Fork Tournament. Roaring Fork will be one of the top teams in Class 3A this year, as well.
The Sailors went to team camp at the University of Wyoming and Western State College this summer and played surprisingly well when the entire group was present and healthy, Peterson said.
But Peterson and Jenkins acknowledge that the team will have to listen and follow Meek's game plan to be successful.
This year's team isn't blessed with height -- Peterson is the tallest player at 6-foot-4 and becomes Steamboat's primary post defender this year -- but it has great perimeter shooters.
"We are adding some new things offensively," Meek said. "As time goes on, we'll do even more. We'll have to."
Battle Mountain is an early pick to win the league title, but Glenwood Springs and Moffat County should be in contention, as well. Jenkins has been around long enough to know, however, that Steamboat always has a shot.
"No one is expecting anything from us," Jenkins said. "But we have Coach Meek."