Truckee basketball preview | Dedicated boys’ team improves |

Truckee basketball preview | Dedicated boys’ team improves

Sylas Wright
Sierra Sun
Photography Michael MichaelsenTruckee junior guard Graham Millie competes against Lowry on Tuesday.

Last year at this time, Truckee players were bashing free-throw attempts off of backboards.

Times have changed.

The new-look Wolverines, to the relief of second-year head coach Angelo Tenorio, are about as polished as last yearand#8217;s group was raw.

and#8220;Weand#8217;re looking pretty good,and#8221; said Tenorio, who struggled with a team made up mostly of aggressive, football-minded players in his first season. and#8220;This yearand#8217;s team, there was a group of eight or nine kids who played all summer and fall and were a little more dedicated to basketball than football. They really worked hard to become better basketball players. They have a passion for the game.and#8221;

Two of those players and#8212; Trent McMullen and Adam Morgan and#8212; even gave up playing football to focus solely on basketball. Their decisions seem to have paid off, Tenorio said, as McMullen returns his senior year as one of the top players in the league in the post and Morgan, a 6-3 junior, is more than holding his own in the paint.

McMullen, Truckeeand#8217;s tallest player at 6-4, has plenty of help surrounding him. His younger brother, junior Nash McMullen, brings his quickness from the soccer pitch to the starting point guard position, while speedy junior guard Graham Millie joins him in the backcourt. Max Blinoff, a 6-3 senior, starts at forward, while Morgan and 6-2 senior Clayton Oand#8217;Connell are battling it out for the final starting position, Tenorio said.

and#8220;Weand#8217;re actually pretty deep, so it just depends on who works the hardest,and#8221; the coach said.

The talent level doesnand#8217;t drop off on the bench, nor does Truckeeand#8217;s decent size across the board. Zac Pettit, for example, is 6-3, and a bull in the paint, while fellow Truckee football players David Burnham and Erik Holmer are a strong 6-2 and 6-1, respectively.

and#8220;We are fairly big,and#8221; Tenorio said. and#8220;We have good size. The guys can also shoot from outside, so we can do the inside-out game. And weand#8217;ve worked extremely hard this year to improve in the post.and#8221;

Truckeeand#8217;s guard play isnand#8217;t shabby, either, with Graham Christian, Trevor Mort and John McCormick all capable of contributing.

In fact, said Tenorio, and#8220;Weand#8217;re a very well-rounded group. With the exception of Trent, itand#8217;s pretty well balanced. Thereand#8217;s not another dominant scorer, but they all score well. From the guards to posts, everybody can score. In our early successes, everyone has contributed.and#8221;

Tenorio said with their good athletes, the Wolverines like to get the ball out and run the floor, sometimes to a fault and#8212; like in Tuesdayand#8217;s 16-point loss at Lowry, he said.

and#8220;Weand#8217;re learning to slow it down when we have to. Itand#8217;s going to take a little bit of time to learn to be patient and play half-court basketball,and#8221; Tenorio said. and#8220;Sometimes we go too fast.and#8221;

As far as the Northern 3A and Truckeeand#8217;s local pod, the Mount Rose League, Tenorio said he expects South Tahoe, Sparks and Incline to all have strong teams this year from the MRL, as well as Lowry and potentially Dayton from outside the pod.

and#8220;Lowry is a good team. Theyand#8217;re very fundamentally sound and pretty big, and they work well together,and#8221; said Tenorio, whose Wolverines lost 63-47 in Winnemucca on Tuesday, adjusting their record to 3-2 overall. and#8220;We got in a little foul trouble and panicked a little bit at certain times. We played great through three quarters, but the one we didnand#8217;t made the difference.and#8221;