Steamboat Springs High School basketball coach Kelly Meek doesn't have to read between the lines to know the kind of talent - and potential - he has on this year's team.

Photo by Brian Ray

Steamboat Springs High School basketball coach Kelly Meek doesn't have to read between the lines to know the kind of talent - and potential - he has on this year's team.

Expectations are lofty for Sailors basketball

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Boys basketball

2007-08 Steamboat Springs High School regular season schedule

8 p.m. Nov. 30 at Roaring Fork Tournament

2:30 p.m. Dec. 1 at Roaring Fork Tournament

6:20 p.m. Dec. 6 Steamboat hosts Steamboat Shootout

TBA, Dec. 7 Steamboat hosts Steamboat Shootout

TBA, Dec. 8 Steamboat hosts Steamboat Shootout

TBA, Dec. 13 at Flaming Gorge Tournament

TBA, Dec. 14 at Flaming Gorge Tournament

TBA, Dec. 15 at Flaming Gorge Tournament

7:30 p.m. Jan. 8 at Moffat County

7:30 p.m. Jan. 11 at Rifle

5:30 p.m. Jan. 12 vs. Glenwood Springs

7:30 p.m. Jan. 18 at Delta

5:30 p.m. Jan. 19 at Palisade

7:30 p.m. Jan. 25 vs. Eagle Valley

7:15 p.m. Jan. 26 at Battle Mountain

7:30 p.m. Feb. 1 vs. Rifle

5:30 p.m. Feb. 2 at Glenwood Springs

7:30 p.m. Feb. 8 vs. Delta

5:30 p.m. Feb. 9 vs. Palisade

7:30 p.m. Feb. 15 vs. Moffat County

5:30 p.m. Feb. 16 at Eagle Valley

7:30 p.m. Feb. 22 vs. Battle Mountain

— Steamboat Springs High School boys basketball coach Kelly Meek hates to look ahead.

Meek, one of the most successful coaches in Colorado prep basketball history, preaches to his players to take it one possession at a time, let alone one game at a time.

But that doesn't stop the reporter from asking the question.

How good can this year's team be?

"I'll just be honest," Meek said after Wednesday's practice. "I expect this to be a dynamite team - both on offense and defense and at both ends of the floor. I expect that. We've been together for a long time. These kids know me well. A whole lot of them have been in this practice a long time.

"I feel really good about where we're going to be."

If a few things fall the Sailors' way, they certainly could find themselves deep in the state tournament.

Steamboat returns its three leading scorers from a year ago, its sixth man and a slew of players who spent most of the spring, summer and fall pounding basketballs against the floor, shooting and playing.

"We're really interchangeable," Meek said. "We can put five guys on the court that can really shoot it. We can deep ball it. We can definitely stretch it out. We've got six guys that can step out and shoot that 3-ball, and we need to do that because of the lack of size we have."

The Sailors are led by their two returning All-State guards in Aaron Calkins and Michael Vandahl. Both played on an Amateur Athletic Union team this summer that took them to tournaments in Texas, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

While they will be the focal point of the attack, Meek said it might be the other three players on the court who determine how far this year's team can go.

With Alex Wood and Colby Kostur entrenched in two of the other starting positions, Meek said he's looking for his fifth starter as well as a dependable bench rotation.

Meek will have his pick from seniors Blake Weinstein, Ryan Shaw, Connor Moore, Darren Burke, junior Nelson Brassell and freshman Isiah Forsyth.

"Right now, we're working on our depth," Kostur said. "We'll see how deep we'll go, but we have the possibility to go real deep."

How well the Sailors do might come down to how well Kostur plays. Kostur - last season's third leading scorer for Steamboat - will see his role in the offense expand.

"He's put a lot of hard work in," Meek said. "He's very dedicated to the program, and he's just a tremendous teammate. It's just his overall offensive skill set has improved a lot."

Steamboat will certainly be tested early.

The team plays in the Roaring Fork Tournament, hosts the Steamboat Shootout and travels to the Flaming Gorge Tournament. All three tournaments draw some of the top teams in the state.

When league play hits - the Sailors finished undefeated in the Western Slope League last year - Steamboat is sure to get every team's best effort every night.

That's something that Meek cherishes.

"We like that thought of the championship runs through us," Meek said. "Everybody knows, 'Hey we've got to go get these guys to win it.' I relish that because I think it's important to want to have to go against people's best efforts."

Meek said it's important for the Sailors to get off to a better start than last year's early 2-4 record.

"We have the potential," Meek said. "The possibilities are there to be a really sweet team by the end of the year."

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