The first official practice of the 2020-21 high school basketball season began last week.
Defending Class B champions Omaha Skutt will need to replace key contributors. The SkyHawks should have enough depth to be right back in the mix for a title this season.
Here are notes and observations from the SkyHawks practice last week.
Omaha Skutt lost arguably the best athlete in the school’s history in Tyson Gordon. Replacing his intangibles of leadership and will to win won’t be easy. Gordon was also the SkyHawks leading scorer (16.4) and rebounder (5.5). Senior guard Charlie Fletcher had somewhat of a breakout as a junior finishing second on the team as a scoring (14.4) while averaging 3.2 rebounds. Fletcher has the ability to increase the scoring load and be the leader the SkyHawks will need should they repeat in 2021.
Senior Luke Skar should improve significantly on his 12 points and 5.1 rebounds per game as a junior. Skar is one of the better post players in the state. He has soft hands, can finish around the rim and a motor that never stops. A big season awaits the forward and the SkyHawks will count on him to improve his scoring and rebounding while patrolling the paint defensively.
There’s a lot of unknowns with a team that lost so much from the state championship. One player that is poised for a breakout season is James Gninefou. The junior guard has the length and athleticism to make an impact this season. Averaging just 1.3 points as a sophomore, he will be counted on to contribute on both ends of the floor and a likely starter this season. Senior Sam Kudron averaged two points as a junior and will also step into a much larger role. Kudron will be looked at as a leader and catch-and-shoot scorer from behind the arc.
Andrew Merfeld didn’t grab headlines for Skutt last season but his role as a leader and defensive stopper is one that will be missed. Two younger players that can be counted on to fill that defensive specialist role are guards sophomores Wyatt Archer and Maccoy Holtam.
Size is hard to find in the state this year but the SkyHawks seem to have multiple options to backup Skar in the post. The player that will get the first crack at it is likely to be junior Nate Zuroske (6-5). Zuroske is a physical player that looks to be a rebounding machine. Sophomore Mitch Scholl (6-6) has a different skill set than fellow sophomore Jake Brack (6-6). Scholl can stretch the floor from deep as more of a face up shooter while Brack doesn’t mind being physical in the post.