Monday was first day entire squad was together.
Monday was the first day that the Rolla High School boys' basketball team had its full squad intact, although head coach Mark Miller would have preferred that day be put off another week or so.
The Bulldog basketball squad fully came together only after the RHS boys' soccer team was eliminated from the state playoffs on Friday, being upset by Jefferson City Helias 1-0 in the district tournament championship game.
Rolla, ranked No. 2 in the final regular-season Class 2 state poll, had asperations of making it to the boys' soccer Final Four this season.
"We've got everybody in Monday for the first practice together," said Miller, entering his sixth season as RHS head coach. "We're still working on conditioning quite a bit. Elements of our game will be pretty fast-paced, and we're trying to get them ready for that."
RHS has several returners from last season's 13-13 squad, including 6-4 all-conference and all-district junior forward Caleb Copeland (14.7 points, 6.3 rebounds), 5-10 sophomore guard Kobe Wands (9.0 points, 87 percent free throw percentage), 6-4 senior guard Tyler Kean (7.6 points, 40 percent three-point range), 6-3 senior forward Aaron Froehlich (6.0 points, 3.4 rebounds), 6-2 junior guard Landon Maynard, 6-5 junior forward Shane O'Brennan and 6-4 sophomore forward Sam Marshall.
Among those coming up from the junior varsity vying for varsity spots are 5-11 senior guard Damaris Facen, 5-9 junior guard Carter Wands, 6-0 junior guard Jordan Kaden, 6-2 sophomore guard Zach Brown and 6-5 junior forward Mohamed Dai.
One player not returning as expected is senior guard Hunter Short, an all-district player who averaged 9.4 points last season. Short will play for his club soccer team throughout the winter.
"Short has chosen not to play," Miller said. "He's going to play club soccer. It's a tough loss; he's a great kid who we've depended a lot on in the past. But we respect his decision to play soccer – he's going to be a collegiate athlete in that sport."
Miller says shooting should be a strength for his squad, but adds there is plenty for the Bulldogs to work on.
"We have a lot of guys who can shoot the basketball," Miller said. "We're not the oldest team, but we're working on maturity. We've played a lot together in the summer.
"Our challenge will be we are not overly tall. But we make up for some of that with aggression."
BULLDOG NOTES: For the first time Miller will have a four-man coaching staff at the high school level this season. His assistants this season are Devin Campbell, Dennis (Doc) Roberts and Chad Shockley.
Roberts was Miller's lone high school assistant the previous three years. Campbell was Miller's assistant prior to that and returns to the staff after serving as the Rolla Junior High freshman girls' basketball coach last season. Shockley, a former standout football and basketball player at St. James High School, is a first-year coach at RHS. Campbell will be the jayvee head coach.
"It gives us four sets of eyes," Miller said. "We've got a good staff. Our assistants are very motivating for our players and very positive."
The Rolla High School boys' and girls' basketball teams will host the Rolla Basketball Jamboree, to be held Friday, Nov. 22 at the RHS gym, starting at 4:30 p.m.
In addition to the Rolla boys' and girls' basketball squads, the Crocker and Cuba teams will also be participating.
The jamboree sessions are basically practice scrimmages. Each team will play two sessions of three, 6-minute quarters versus the other two schools. Personal fouls will not be tallied and coaches may be on the court to provide instruction to players during play.
Admission will be $3 per person (ages 6-60).
Here is the jamboree schedule:
Nov. 22, RHS gym
4:30 p.m.: Rolla vs. Crocker girls.
5:05 p.m.: Rolla vs. Crocker boys.
5:40 p.m.: Cuba vs. Crocker girls.
6:15 p.m.: Cuba vs. Crocker boys.
6:50 p.m.: Rolla vs. Cuba girls.
7:25 p.m.: Rolla vs. Cuba boys.
Key Sport Classic: On Nov. 30 the RHS boys' and girls' basketball teams officially open the season by hosting the Key Sport Shop Tip-Off Classic at the RHS gyms.
Schools participating this year are Rolla, Salem, Northwest (Cedar Hill) and Willard.
All teams and spectators should enter through the main entrance behind the high school. Doors will be open at 11 a.m.
Admission will be $3 for ages 6-up.
The boys' and girls' varsity and junior varsity teams will all be playing during the Key Sport Classic. The Rolla teams will be taking on the Willard teams while Salem will meet Northwest.
Here is the schedule
Key Sport Tip-Off Classic
Nov. 30, RHS gyms
Noon - Main Gym: Salem vs. Northwest varsity girls. Practice Gym: Salem vs. Northwest jayvee boys.
1:30 p.m. - Main Gym: Salem vs. Northwest varsity boys. Practice Gym: Salem vs. Northwest jayvee girls.
3 p.m. - Main Gym: Rolla vs. Willard varsity girls.
Practice Gym: Rolla vs. Willard jayvee boys.
4:30 p.m. - Main Gym: Rolla vs. Willard varsity boys. Practice: Rolla vs. Willard jayvee girls.
The Rolla High boys' basketball 2013-14 schedule:
Nov. 30...Key Sport Tip-Off Classic
Dec. 2-7...Buffalo Tourney, tba
Dec. 10...at St. James, 6 p.m.
Dec. 17...Salem, 6 p.m.
Dec. 19...at Springfield Central, 6 p.m.
Dec. 26-28...US Bank Holiday Inv., tba
Jan. 7...Waynesville, 6 p.m.*
Jan. 10...at Union, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 14...at Springfield Hillcrest, 4:30 p.m.*
Jan. 17...Sullivan, 6 p.m.
Jan. 20-25...St. James Tourney, tba
Jan. 29, Feb. 1...Pacific JV Tourney, tba
Jan. 31...at Joplin, 4:30 p.m.*
Feb. 3, 8...Licking JV Tourney, tba
Feb. 4...Lebanon, 6 p.m.*
Feb. 7...West Plains, 6 p.m.*
Feb. 11...Springfield Parkview, 6 p.m.*
Feb. 14...at Camdenton, 6 p.m.*
Feb. 18...at Springfield Kickapoo, 4:30 p.m.*
Feb. 21...at Springfield Glendale, 6 p.m.*
Feb. 25...at Owensville, 6 p.m.
March 3-8...District Tourney, tba
*-Ozark Conference Game