Craig basketball adds muscle to lineup
JANESVILLE Craig High begins the 2012-13 boys basketball season stronger and leaner.
"We got the guys to buy into the weight room," Craig coach Mike Miller said. "We should be stronger, and help us cut down on the turnovers that have plagued us in the past.''
Craig opens its season in a nonconference home games Stoughton at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The Cougars must replace top-scorers Brett Pickarts and Cameron Wright from a team that finished 6-17 last season. The Cougars return six players.
Craig expects to get off to a good start this season after going 1-6 in the Big Eight and 1-10 overall to begin last season.
Will Eden, Paul Foster and Troy Malmanger are key players that put in significant minutes last season, and are three of five seniors that lead the Cougars. Guard Austin Schumacher and forward Austin Chang round out Craig's senior corps.
Junior guards Jerry Ngobi and Mike Murphy, who led the sophomore team in scoring, will play key roles. Also in the mix are juniors Nolan Maresch, Alec McCann, James Morgan, Logan Hollinsaid and Logan Carlson.
Miller begins his fourth season as Craig head coach expecting his compact 12-man roster to provide quality minutes.
"We're comfortable with 12 on the roster," Miller said. "They can all contribute in a game.''
Miller is counting on Malmanger to provide leadership as the point guard and give Craig a boost with his scoring ability.
"Troy's a good shooter," Miller said. "He has the green light to shoot, but he can get guys in the game.''
Eden, at 6-5 and 275 pounds, provides a force that Miller hopes will give Craig some control inside.
"Will came in this year in very good shape," Miller said. "He played inside and outside as a freshman and he can handle the ball.''
If Miller decides to go big with his lineup, he can insert the 6-5 Carlson to play along side Eden.
"Carlson should see significant playing time," Miller said.
Ngobi has speed that should boost the Cougars' attack.
"Jerry has worked at his game," Miller said. "He has really started to take a leadership role."
Miller said winning games in the Big Eight is not easy.
"The Big Eight is one of the best leagues in the state," Miller said. "It's a lot different then when I played (for Craig). It's more athletic with better teams.''
Miller said Nick Fuller-led Sun Prairie is the team to beat in the Big Eight this season.
"Sun Prairie is the top team in the conference," Miller said. "Madison Memorial is next and you can toss in the rest of us.''
The Craig schedule:
November: 16—Stoughton. 20—At Madison East. 24—At Madison Edgewood. 29—At Madison West.
December: 1—Verona. 7—Sun Prairie. 8—At Beloit. 13—Madison La Follette. 15—At Madison Memorial. 18—Mount Horeb. 21—Middleton.
January: 4—At Janesville Parker. 10—Madison East. 12—At Madison West. 15—At Monroe. 18—At Verona. 24—At Sun Prairie. 26—Beloit.
February: 1—At Madison La Follette. 7—Madison Memorial. 9—At Middleton. 15—Janesville Parker. 19-22-23—Regionals.