The Wyoming Valley Conference boys basketball
coaches met Sunday to select their divisional MVPs and all-stars as well
as the seniors for the WVC All-Star Game on April 1 at Holy Redeemer High
The Times Leader will select an All-WVC boys basketball team at a later
Here are the coaches selections:
Nanticoke senior Cael Evans made the first team after averaging
14.3 points. He finished second in the division in scoring average and
field goals (80).
SENIOR ALL-STAR ROSTERS
The coaches also selected the seniors for the 42nd
annual Senior All-Star Classic set for 8 p.m. Friday, April 1, at Holy
Redeemer High School.
Selected to the East team were: Coughlins
Chris Grullon; Crestwoods Dave Piavis and Jonathan Wojnar; GARs
Mike Polakoski (injured, will not play); Hanover Areas Cory Dickson
and Bilal Floyd; Hazleton Areas Danny Fogarty and Dwaine Gilley;
Meyers Nahjee Brown, Ross Lavan and Keyton Winder; MMI Preps
Ryan Forte and Fran Swankoski; Nanticokes Cody Bukowski and Cael
Evans; and Pittston Areas Joe Coyne.
Coughlins Joe Caffrey, Crestwoods Mark
Atherton and Meyers Pat Toole will coach the East.
Cael Evans received a nice surprise when he began his
sophomore basketball season at Nanticoke Area.
He was afforded the luxury of sitting in the stands during the junior
varsity games because thanks to all his hard work in the offseason, he
earned a spot as a starter on the varsity.
Now, as he works his way through his senior season, his third as a starter,
Evans is one of the top scorers in the Wyoming Valley Conference and the
leader on a team that lacks varsity experience around him.
"He came right up from the freshman team," said Nanticoke Area
head coach Ken Bartuska. "He never played a minute of junior varsity
and he is one of the rare people to do that."
Evans jumped at the chance to be a starter. He paid attention to detail
and took advantage of every opportunity to presented to him. Whether it
was extra time in the gym working on his moves around the basket or popping
out to hit the mid-range jumper, Evans worked at his craft and the hard
work has paid off.
Even if the good news came as a bit of a shock.
"I was shocked to start my sophomore year," Evans admitted.
"I worked hard to get it. It was just going hard, giving 110 percent.
I tried to improve my game in every way."
Evans was one of the top scorers on the team last year as a junior and
this year he leads the team, averaging 17 points per game. He is also
the team's leading 3-point shooter, connecting on 10 shots from beyond
Although it's nice to have that dimension to his game, Bartuska, for obvious
reasons, likes to keep him on the low block where he can use his 6-foot-6
frame. "I like to see him around the basket because it's a higher
percentage shot," Bartuska said. "He does have a good touch
and can step out and hit the mid-range jumper and shoot the three. He's
our leading 3-point shooter. Around the basket he has a nice touch with
the drop step and his jump hooks."
That may be where player and coach have a slight
"I love shooting the 3, there is nothing better
than seeing the ball swish through the net," Evans said. "Sometimes
I get a little carried away and coach tells me to go back to the post."
Evans and the coaching staff do an effective job
of taking advantage of his versatility. If the opponents have a bigger
man on him, he move outside and open things up for the rest of his teammates.
If there is a smaller player guarding him, Bartuska prefers to park him
in the lane and let the guards feed him the ball.
Either way, when the Trojans run their offense,
they make sure to get Evans at least one touch each time down the floor.
And on some nights that is pretty difficult.
"Every game there is a lot of pressure going
into it," Evans admitted. "Every time I catch the ball I'm getting
double and triple teamed. When that happens I will just kick it back outside
or ask for it back. Sometimes I try to make a strong move to the basket
and try and draw the foul."
The Trojans got off to a 1-0 start in the regular
season and Evans sees the team improving every day at practice. In his
mind, it's just a matter of taking it to the next level on game night.
"Before every game I make a speech to try
and get the guys involved," Evans said. "When we play as a team
we can do good things. We just have to get to that point. We need to get
everyone going, communication is a big part of it. We're starting to look
better as a team. The chemistry is growing and we're making things happen."
Boys Basketball Capsule
Coach: Ken Bartuska
09-10 WVC record: 6-7, 4th; 7-16 overall
09-10 postseason: Lost 50-46 to North Pocono in D2-3A
State classification: 3A
Key players lost: Jarad Kmietowicz, Zak Morgis, Jake
Key players: Cody Bukowski, 5-10, Sr.; Cael Evans, 6-8,
Sr.; Josh Decker, 6-3, Jr.; Brandon Kairo, 6-4, Jr.; Mike Murtha, 6-0,
Sr.; Jeff Jezewski, 6-2, Jr.; Zak Matulewski, 6-1, Jr.; Kevin Zaykoski,
Outlook: Only two starting spots were set entering the
exhibition season. Evans, one of the WVCs better and more versatile
big men, is back after being a Division III first-team all-star last season.
Bukowski returns and will anchor the backcourt. After that, the Trojans
had to sort things out. They have a lot of good athletes who have been
competing intensely for the other three starting spots. Bartuska figures
there are about a dozen in the mix for the final three jobs.
The one thing for certain is Nanticoke will have depth
and be able to go with a big lineup when needed or a quicker one when
the situation dictates. As expected, the Trojans were a little shaky starting
exhibition play, but if they put it together they could be tough over
the second half of the season.