Experienced Knights hoping hard work pays off | Boys basketball

Kamiak should have a height advantage against Wesco rivals
By David Pan | Nov 29, 2017
Photo by: David R Pan Senior Carson Tuttle returns at point guard to lead an experienced Kamiak team that has advanced to the state regional playoffs the last two years.

Expectations are running high for the Kamiak boys basketball team and there are ample reasons why.

It’s the senior season for Carson Tuttle, one of the state’s top point guards, who recently signed a letter of intent to play for Texas A&M – Commerce.

The Knights return seven seniors, making the 2017-18 squad one of the most experienced in coach Cory West’s 10-year tenure at Kamiak.

And to top it off, the Knights have a starting lineup likely to be one of the tallest, if not the tallest, in the Wesco 4A. At 5-foot-11, Tuttle is the shortest starter for a two-time state regional playoff team that includes 6-7 senior wing Daniel Sharpe and 6-4 senior guard Patrick Olson.

West is anticipating that Tuttle, a returning co-captain will continue to grow as a leader on the floor.

“I expect him to take his leadership to another level this year, meaning not always deferring to us (coaches), being that he’s on the court,” West said.

West said he is fine if Tuttle decides to call different sets, offenses or defenses based on what he sees is going on with the opponent.

Co-captain Olson appreciates all that Tuttle brings to the team, especially his basketball IQ and drive.

“He knows everything about the game,” Olson said. “He’s always finding the open man. You get easy buckets with that guy running the transition. In the summer, I worked out with him a lot. He really helped me and taught me what it means to really work on your game.”

Tuttle said that he and his fellow seniors put in hours of work over the summer. That strong work ethic has continued through the fall and the start of practices.

“The group of seniors, collectively, are just really focused,” Tuttle said. “They bring a lot of intensity in practice so far and even throughout the summer. … I feel very confident where we’re at heading into the season.”

The seven seniors bring not only plenty of court time, both at the varsity and junior varsity level, but also leadership.

“It’s not so much two leaders and the rest trying to figure their way out,” Tuttle said. “Everybody has the experience. Everybody’s been under the bright lights. Everybody can add their input in different parts of the game. It helps with the chemistry that we’ve all played together already – some with the JV, some with the varsity.”

This year’s squad is the tallest that West has ever coached especially with varsity newcomer Ryker Wuttke, a 6-10 junior wing.

Opponents should be prepared for the Knights to post up inside.

“We’re definitely going to try to use our height to our advantage and get the ball into the posts and get easy buckets,” Olson said.

The Knights also have speed and athleticism to go with the height.

Olson is one of the top sprinters and long/triple jumpers in the league and Sharpe also runs the court well.

“We’re long and still athletic,” West said. “We want to get them out running and get them on the court and let them create for each other.”

West is looking for consistency from Sharpe, who has worked on his mid-range game.

“If he plays consistent, he’s going to be a big part of how our season goes,” West said.

Olson brings the ability to drive to the basket with his speed and is a strong defensive presence.

“He is looking to become more of an offensive threat this year,” West added.

Senior wings Jordan Meyer and Conner Fitzpatrick, who were on JV last season, also have impressed West

The loss of Christian Clausen, last year’s top 3-point shooter, means that others are going to have to pick up the scoring load.

Tuttle isn’t worried about Kamiak’s offense.

“Between our bigs and our new guards, we have some guys who can really put the ball in the hoop,” he said.

“We’re still going to need guys to step up and make 3s,” Olson added. “I know a lot of the wings have been shooting a lot. We’re ready to shoot when we get open looks.”

The Knights have come up a game short of advancing to the state tournament and the Tacoma Dome the last two years.

“We just want to surpass what we got last year,” West said. “We want to be better. As long as we’re better than last year, whatever route that is, we’ll take it.”

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