Miners’ Chase is on
Before the season started, Nevada Union basketball coach Jeff Dellis was not sure if senior guard Chase Fleming would have to share playing time with Jon Sheets or get the nod as a starter.
Rather than choose between the two, Dellis has paired them in the backcourt. With Fleming at the point, Dellis said the Miners have become virtually immune to opponents’ presses, even those as presented by some of the best NorCal teams around, like Northgate and Oakland.
While some players may feel a catch in their throat at the sight of an opponent’s press, Fleming remains unfazed.
“Sometimes, I like the press,” Fleming said. “That way, you can get easier baskets.”
As the Miners head into a crucial stretch of Metro League basketball games, Dellis is counting on Fleming not only to be the team’s ballhandler, but to assume a more active role in the scoring column.
Tonight, the Miners will attempt to close the gap between themselves and the top of the Metro League leader board in a game against visiting McClatchy. Game time is at 7 p.m. McClatchy is half a game off the league lead, while NU is eager to separate itself from mid-pack running mates Jesuit and Sacramento High.
“Chase is becoming more aggressive,” Dellis said. “I keep stressing to Chase that I want him to shoot more. That we need another viable threat, and that he is that man, and he has really taken that to heart and is taking more shots and driving more.”
Fleming said he is having fun this year, not much of a surprise considering his playing time has more than tripled this year. Last year, he spent the year behind two-time team MVP Sak Sopheak.
“He had the advantage of practicing against Sak every day,” said Dellis, who was an assistant coach last year. “The down side is he didn’t see many minutes.”
This year, as a starter, not only is Fleming getting the playing time, but he is taking advantage of it. In an preseason contest against Davis, Fleming stepped up and tossed in 14 points to help compensate for the foul trouble of leading scorer Tony Parilo. And against Sacramento 10 days ago, Fleming nailed a three-pointer that sent the game into overtime.
“I slipped when I shot it,” Fleming said with a chuckle. “It was slick there, and I totally traveled but the refs didn’t call it. I just kind of tossed it up there.”
A good student in Dellis’ history class, Fleming is to referred to by his coach as being somewhat of a Renaissance man.
Fleming has his eye on attending a University of California school. In the meantime, his shorter focus is on moving the Miners up in the league standings, and to improve the team’s power rating standing so that it can host a playoff game.
“I think we’ll do good the rest of the league, and that will boost our power rating,” Fleming said. “There are some tough teams, and we are all pretty evenly matched, but we will be ready.”
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The Little League District 11 postseason is off to a hot start.