GENEVA – Batavia boys basketball coach Jim Nazos put it simply.
“Every time we take the court, we’re going to get better,” he said, “and that’s all we’re trying to do right now.”
After losing 11 seniors from last year’s squad, that’s all the soon-to-be second-year Bulldogs coach can focus on at this point in the offseason.
But being able to showcase his young team in Geneva Summer League play, Nazos has found just the recipe to give his varsity newcomers the experience they need moving forward.
“This is a great tournament for us to be in because there’s a lot of area schools and very good programs,” Nazos said. “You’re not going to come here and play bad teams. With that said, we’re not going to measure ourselves on wins and losses but just focus on progress and getting better.”
Batavia ended the night Monday at Geneva with a 50-37 loss to Kaneland, which moved the Bulldogs’ record to 1-3 in the summer league so far.
“We’ve been pretty strong so far and our seniors are playing well in their roles and leading how they should,” Nazos said. “There’s also a few guys who were in the background last year and are doing well now. I can’t tell from our first five to our second and third five because I think everybody is doing well. It’s also too early to tell that.”
On the flip-side with the Knights, coach Brian Johnson is looking at some new players for varsity, but already has some valuable experience returning for this year’s team.
“We’ve got three to four guys coming back who we hope their leadership will carry us through the summer and will roll right into the season,” Johnson said. “We’ve had our up and down moments but when it’s been going well, it’s great.”
Drew David, who will be a four-year starter at point guard, leads the group of veterans. John Pruett as well as Ty Carlson are two other returnees who Kaneland is hoping will provide leadership.
“I’m really happy with what those guys have been doing,” Johnson said. “This kind of a tournament gives the veteran guys and especially the younger guys the chance to play some tough competition against schools in the area, which is great.”
The Knights (2-1 summer league) found themselves down 29-26 at halftime against Batavia despite a 13-point performance from Pruett in the first half, but they changed things dramatically in the second half thanks to an 11-0 scoring run to finish the final 5:14.
Pruett finished with a game-high 18 points.