The first official practice of the 2020-21 high school basketball season began recently.
Papillion-La Vista South made the state tournament last season and is looking to build off of that success this season. Replacing the graduated Jared Mattley will be the Titans first priority.
Here are notes and observations from the Titans practice last week.
The front court has depth led by senior Danair Dempsey. The 6-foot-7 forward has the versatility to score from all three levels and the length to defend the wing as well as in the post. Dempsey was second on the team in scoring (14), led the team in rebounding (6.9) and blocked shots (1.5). He is a good passer from the high post and is extremely effective at knocking down mid-range or elbow jump shots. Look for Dempsey to increase his production offensively while continuing to alter shots defensively.
Junior Daniel Brocaille seems as though he has taken the leadership role. Brocaille is extremely active and vocal on the defensive end. A capable scorer, he shot 45% from the field including 38% from 3-point range. He will look to improve on his 9.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.
Senior Graham Cassoutt shot the ball for a high percentage last season. 40% from behind the arc and 58% on two-point field goals. He is likely to get more opportunities to score this season which should improve his 9.6 points per game average as a junior.
Finding someone to replace the leadership and big shot making and production left behind by the graduation of Mattley. 16.4 points, 4.5 assists and 4.4 rebounds won’t be easy to replace and one person likely won’t be called upon to do so. Stepping into the point guard role are two likely candidates in senior Tyler Culp and sophomore Devyn Jones. How quickly Jones gets acclimated to significant varsity minutes will be key. Another option to run some point guard is Brocaille in spurts.
Senior guards Josiah Beckenhauer and Jack McKittrick will likely see significant minutes this season. Both are capable of making shots from range and should be able to open the floor for Dempsey, Brocaille and Cassoutt to attack the basket. If the Titans can get significant offensive production from Beckenhauer and McKittrick they will be right back in the thick of the race for a state title in Class A.
One player that will likely provide good depth in the front court is senior Both Dol. Dol will likely play a long side Dempsey at times and has great length in zone opportunities on the defensive end.