For Delta High School coach Von Mitchell, an 11-9 record a year ago may improve in 2013-14 as the Delta Panther boys prepare for their season opener on Dec. 5. Delta will take on Fruita at 3:15 p.m. in Central High School's gymnasium as part of the Warrior Classic Basketball Tournament.
Mitchell, who celebrates his 16th season in basketball, will rely on assistants Rob Ames (21-plus seasons), Lane Varner (5th season), and Clay Norell (1st season) to keep the junior varsity and freshmen teams competitive and feed the varsity program.
Approximately 35 players are on the Panther roster this season. A late surge of numbers for the program was due to Delta's post-season play in football.
The Panthers will be lanky with good speed when the season gets underway. Mitchell believes in a team concept and is hesitant to name individuals as potential go-to players. But this year Mitchell has listed several top prospects whom he will most certainly rely on heavily.
One of the first names from Mitchell was that of senior playmaker Keaton Reiher. The hustling guard is a legitimate threat for the long three-point shot and is a smart player.
Seniors Jorge Olivas and Kenny Wood are termed "lanky kids with some offensive skills," by Mitchell.
Junior Eian Baier and senior Ryan Whiteside will be seeking their second nomination to all-conference squads when play begins.
A trio of teams will pose high competition along the way this season for Delta, according to Mitchell. Rifle is always a threat, says Mitchell, because "the Bears are coached by the best coach around — Roger Walters. Palisade was mentioned because it will feature tough guards who "are quick and can shoot it," says Mitchell.
The third team to be a contender is Steamboat Springs. Mitchell's comment about them was simply, "They have a bunch of gym rats again."
Mitchell believes his team can compete with the best in 2013-14. "Hopefully, we'll be in the mix for the league title. We've got to become a team first. We've got a lot of work to do."blog comments powered by Disqus