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Dellis: NU not down and out

John HartNevada Union junior forward Jarad Van Matre prepares to make a pass during a non-league game.
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The Nevada Union boys basketball team has had its share of troubles so far this season.

Second-year head coach Jeff Dellis had to begin the preseason at a little less than half strength as a gaggle of players were either injured or still knee deep in the football team’s playoff run.

The Miners lost 12 of their first 16 games, including a five-point decision to western Nevada County neighbor Bear River in the opener, but Dellis doesn’t seem worried.



“Some people may think we’re down and out right now, but we’re just hitting our stride,” he said.

Those fans will get a chance to see first hand what Dellis is talking about when NU hosts Hiram Johnson (Sacramento) in the team’s Metro Conference opener 7 p.m. Thursday.




TOP GUNS

Jon Sheets is NU’s sole returning starter from last year’s league runners-up.

The 6-foot senior guard, who helped led the Miner football team to wins over Woodland and Grant (Sacramento) en route to an undefeated conference record, can do it all according to Dellis.

“He’s such an intelligent player. He shoot and defends well. He makes his teammates better,” Dellis said. “I’m amazed he hasn’t gotten more looks from colleges than he has.”

Sheets is joined in the backcourt of NU’s three-guard offense by Joey Bratton (5-11) and sharpshooter Gary Daley (6-2).

“Joey’s done a really nice job this year. (He didn’t play last year) and in some respects I think that’s hurt him. We haven’t seen what he’s capable of yet, but by the end of the year I’m sure his contributions will be real significant,” Dellis said.

“Gary has matured into a leader this year. He’s one of our top two scorers and (he’s a great defender). We played Woodland earlier in the year and they had a stud, Miguel Flores, who goes about 6-foot-5, and Gary held him to under 10 points. He’s defended a lot of other stud players this season, and he’s done a very admirable job,” Dellis added.

Down low, NU has Jarad Van Matre (6-5) and Chad Smith (6-5).

“He’s left-handed and he can shoot the ball well. As soon as he realizes how good he can be, it’s going to be great for us and scary for everyone else,” Dellis said. “Chad went for 35 points earlier in the year. He’s one of those kids whose a behind-the scenes kinda kids you may not notice, but he still gets the job done.”

OFF THE BENCH

The Miners, who Dellis said can 10 players deep, have plenty of firepower in reserve.

Geoff Trapani (6-3), along with Archie Pearson (6-3) and sophomore Brennan McFadden (6-4) are the first players off the bench.

“Geoff is recovering from a severe ankle fracture, but he can still square up and shoot the perimeter as well as take the ball to the hole,” Dellis said. “Archie is a ball of energy. He hasn’t shown it yet, but he’s going to develop into one of our best shooters because he’s got that shooter’s mentality and he’s such a great athlete.”

McFadden, who fractured a foot in late October, is close to full strength.

“He’s still recovering, but he’s potentially our best post player. For being so young, he’s got a real high basketball I.Q.

LEAGUE OUTLOOK

League realignment has dropped NU’s home-and-away series with arch-rival Jesuit (Carmichael) from the schedule, but Dellis said the road to the conference title won’t be an easy one.

“John F. Kennedy (Sacramento) and Yuba City will be tough, but fully expect to run the table and win the league,” he said.

2003 Roster

No. Player Year Ht. Pos

1 Gary Daley Sr. 6-2 G

2 Joey Bratton Sr. 5-11 G

4 Brennan McFadden So. 6-4 F

5 Jon Sheets Sr. 6-0 G

12 Zane Edwards Jr. 5-11 G

14 Geoff Trapani Sr. 6-3 F

21 Corey Holland Jr. 6-1 G

23 Chad Smith Sr. 6-5 F

24 Nick Loeffler Sr. 6-0 F

30 Alex Manuel Jr. 6-2 G

33 Jason Roenicke Jr. 6-0 G

34 Archie Pearson Jr. 6-3 G

44 Jarad Van Matre Jr. 6-5 F

55 Bryan Davis Jr. 6-6 F


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