Rattler boys ready for season

William Thompson

The Tucumcari High School boys’ basketball team has a date with Elida Nov. 29 and this Monday they will be having a purple-gold scrimmage at Tucumcari Elementary School gym to which the public is invited. The scrimmage will begin at 5:30 p.m. Monday.

Head Coach John Span will have his varsity players set by Monday’s scrimmage, but said JV players who play well will continue to have a chance to move up to varsity throughout the season. Span said a starting lineup for Elida will be determined sometime next week. ”To me starting is not that important,” said Span. “It’s how many quality minutes you get that is important.”

Nemi Salvador and Chris McCasland are returning starters from last season. Span said no returning starter has a lock on a starting position. “Whoever is playing the best is who will start,” he said. “I will say that I’m not disappointed with the previous starters.”

Span said he likes the potential of two players who did not play last season. “Gabriel Montano has come on really well,” he said. “He handles the ball well and shoots the ball well. Nathan McDonald is also doing well. He played as a freshman, but was injured last year.”

Football standout Eric Holt will be on the team this year.
“I expect Eric to see significant playing time this season,” said Span. Coach Span said his teams’s strength will be its quickness. “We’ll be able to run up and down the floor on anybody,” said Span. “We work on passing the ball a lot. A pass travels faster than a dribble. The Rattlers don’t have a lot of height down low. “All of our guys will have to bang it around down low,” said Span. “we have the guys who can do that.”

Span said McCasland has assumed a leadership role on the team. “This is Chris’s third year in my system,” he said. “We are ahead of where we were because of that.”
Other players from last year’s team who will be suiting up this season are Matt Braziel, Drew White and Robert Munoz.
“Matt Braziel is a good outside shooter,” said Braziel.
Span said there is no player who will be the leading scorer game after game. “Any player can be the leading scorer on any given night,” he said. “That’s the way it was last season.”

The team has been working hard on conditioning.
“We run for about ten to fifteen minutes at the beginning of every practice,” said Span. “I like to see what the guys can do when they are tired. That’s when it counts.”Span said his system is well known by all the players. “I don’t care that other teams know what we are going to do,” he said. “They will still have to stop us. We lost a little of our shooting ability from last year’s team, but I think this team will be quicker.”