Luke Graham's column appears periodically in the Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4229 or lgraham@SteamboatToday.com.
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Kelly Meek's basketball teams have been the definition of success.
Year in and year out, they dominate the Western Slope League and befuddle Front Range teams with their complex offense, want-it-more-than-you defense and ability to break down opponents and dictate the pace of play.
Last Thursday, it wasn't hard to see why Steamboat has enjoyed so much success.
If you want to ensure success in the future, you have to take care of things in the present. It's a simple philosophy, and it has served the Sailors well for decades.
More than 25 players turned out for preseason camp during the week, and it was pretty visible why Steamboat will be good this year - really good, actually - but also good next year, the year after and the year after that.
Of the 25 players, 10 were from the varsity team. The other 15 were freshmen and sophomores.
Throughout the week, Meek would go over a play with the group as a whole, with the varsity running it with January-like intensity. They'd run it again and again and again.
Then, the other 15 players would break off and run the same play.
Such repetition helps the younger players learn the offensive and defensive schemes. But more important, it shows them the intensity it takes to play Steamboat Springs varsity basketball.
There were looks of awe and confusion on the faces of the younger players. But I can only imagine that when the freshmen left the court each night last week, they had a better understanding of what it takes and what it means to put on a Sailors uniform for Meek.
They realized Michael Vandahl didn't get that good by being lazy. They realized Colby Kostur hasn't gotten by with his size but rather by outworking opponents. They realized Blake Weinstein didn't miss a shot Thursday because he can't remember the last day he didn't pick up a basketball.
No doubt the young players realized a lot throughout the week. If they continue to listen, learn and work, in two years they'll be the ones impressing and motivating the next crop of future Sailors.
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