SUMMIT, NJ - As fate and circumstances would have it, there are zero seniors on the 2017-18 Summit High School Basketball roster.
Is this unique? Surely.
Should it be concerning to Hilltopper Nation from a talent and leadership perspective? That would be a big 'no' and 'no' according the man that will lead the boys into basketball battle, Head Coach Dan Healy.
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According to the Maroon and White's hoops honcho, his junior class -- which will comprise four-fifths of the projected starting five and two-thirds of the roster -- are juniors in label only, having been tested in the cauldron of competition early in their Hilltopper careers and who, to a young man, walk the leadership walk with the poise of a prototype senior.
"This is arguably as smart a team as I have ever had here," said Healy. "We'll have our growing pains, but our main rotation guys have all played at this level last year."
'Last year' was a up and down year for Healy's Hilltoppers, a season in which they won six of eight during a robust stretch in the middle of the slate but wound up dropping five of six to close the season and ended up 11-15.
Summit looks to be a relatively young but athletic bunch, capable of playing Healy's trademark Havocball -- which uses a frenetic offensive and defensive tempo in an effort to make a 94 x 50-foot hunk of hardwood feel like a cramped, walk-in closet for the opposition -- while also being adroit at executing a more pedestrian-paced offense.
The virtue that Healy is prioritizing now for his team is "patience" -- specifically not to "settle", in his words, for what is commonly thought to be a good shot by underclassmen -- and make the extra pass or take the extra offensive reset that will yield an even better look.
The four junior captains -- Jackson Tyler, Finbar McCormick, Malcolm Sidebottom and Dom Yorio -- will be joined as starters by sophomore Eric Baier. McCormick, the floor general; Sidebottom, who frequently morphs into a human points machine, Tyler, the do-everything uber athlete, and Yorio, who many think will have a breakout year and could be a double-double dandy.
Expect juniors Harry Walsh and Nick Loeloff, along with sophomores Will Hellings and Joe Lusardi to get solid minutes as Healy will likely use all of what is now a 9-player roster.
The team's identity and style may be chameleon-like, which will be dictated by what opponents throw at Summit, but the coach likes his squad's ability to adjust and play different strategies and tempos.
"As a team, we can wear many hats," said Healy, quickly adding, "I'm just not sure what our best hat is yet. We just have to play the game that needs to be played."
2017-18 Summit High School Boys Varsity Basketball Team
13 - Eric Baier, Sophomore
22 - Will Hellings, Sophomore
15 - Joe Lusardi, Sophomore
11 - Nick Loeloff, Junior
2 - Finbar McCormick, Junior (C)
23 - Malcolm Sidebottom, Junior (C)
24 - Jackson Tyler, Junior (C)
44 - Harry Walsh, Junior
34 - Dom Yorio, Junior (C)
(C) - denotes captain
Dan Healy, Head Coach
Tim Simo, Assistant Coach
Dave Field, Assistant Coach, Head Coach - Junior Varsity
Jim Siracusa, Assistant Coach, Head Coach - Freshman
Justin Liss - Head Coach, Middle School
2017-18 Summit High School Boys Varsity Basketball Team Schedule
Friday, December 15, 7 p.m., v. Cranford
Tuesday, December 19, 4 p.m., at Scotch Plains-Fanwood
Friday, December 22, 3:30 p.m., v. Morris Knolls
Wednesday, December 27, TBA, SUMMIT HIGH SCHOOL HOLIDAY TOURNAMENT v. TBD
Thursday, December 28, TBA, SUMMIT HIGH SCHOOL HOLIDAY TOURNAMENT v. TBD
Tuesday, January 2, 7 p.m., at Jonathan Dayton
Saturday, January 6, 10 a.m., at Koinonia Academy
Tuesday, January 9, 7 p.m., v. Hillside
Thursday, January 11, 7 p.m., at Governor Livingston
Saturday, January 13, 1 p.m., v. Oratory Prep
Tuesday, January 16, 7 p.m., v. Abraham Clark
Thursday, January 18, 7 p.m., at Rahway
Monday, January 22, 7 p.m., at New Providence
Thursday, January 25, 4 p.m., at Cranford
Saturday, January 27, 12 p.m., v. Scotch Plains-Fanwood
Tuesday, January 30, 7 p.m., at Hillside
Thursday, February 1, 7 p.m., v. Governor Livingston
Tuesday, February 6, 4 p.m., at Abraham Clark
Thursday, February 8, 5:30 p.m., at AL Johnson
Friday, February 9, 7 p.m., UNION COUNTY TOURNAMENT, TBD
Saturday, February 10, TBA, UNION COUNTY TOURNAMENT, TBD
Wednesday, February 14, TBA, UNION COUNTY TOURNAMENT, TBD
Friday, February 16, 7 p.m., at Warren Hills
Wednesday, February 21, 7 p.m., v. Rahway
Saturday, February 24, TBA, UNION COUNTY TOURNAMENT, TBD