The first official practice of the 2020-21 high school basketball season began last week.
Bellevue West won the Class A State Championship in the spring and returns two Division I signees for their senior season.
Here are notes and observations from the T-Birds practice last week.
Chucky Hepburn has been a star since his first day in the program as a freshman. It is very rare that a freshman lives up to the hype at a young age and Hepburn has done just that. The best player on the team most of his career will be called on to produce big numbers as a senior. The Wisconsin signee led the T-Birds in scoring (17.4), assists (6.5) and averaged 4.6 rebounds. Hepburn has improved his outside shooting and will likely be one of the state’s leaders in scoring and assist.
Frankie Fidler signed with Omaha earlier this month. The versatile forward had a breakout year as a junior averaging 12.3 points and 6.2 rebounds. He will likely need to produce more in the scoring column if the T-Birds are going to win back-to-back titles.
Josiah Dotzler hit big shots in the state tournament and in particular the state championship game. The sophomore looks healthier and stronger after adding nearly 30 pounds to his frame. He should see more minutes this season and significantly improve on his 4.5 points per game average as a freshman.
William Kyle continues to improve every time he steps on the floor. Kyle had a breakout summer. The 6-foot-7 junior post player will be called upon to fill the post minutes and production left due to the graduation of John Shanklin. Shanklin now at Division II Black Hills State led the team with 6.3 rebounds and average 10.3 points per contest.
The T-Birds are hoping for instant offense from Greg Brown. The talented Omaha Burke transfer is capable of scoring in bunches and by all accounts he has fit right in. Brown is one of a handful of players that will likely need to fill the production of Louis Fidler who graduated after scoring 15.4 points and 4.4 rebounds.
Junior forward Evan Inselman and sophomore guard Jaxon Stueve will be called upon to play big minutes for the first time in their high school careers. Inselman can score from behind the arc as well as being a productive rebounder and finisher at the rim. Stueve has the ability to stretch the floor which should create scoring opportunities for Hepburn, Fidler and the rest of the T-Birds.