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Billie Marshall/Rider Media

Christian Harley is excited about his first year leading the Rider boys basketball program.

Q/A with boys basketball coach Christian Harley

November 15, 2022

It is a new era for Rider boys basketball as Christian Harley has big shoes to fill as the new head coach, replacing the school’s all-time winningest coach in Cliff McGuire.

The Raiders’ 2022-23 boys basketball season begins Tuesday night with a road game at Decatur. The Rider Chronicle sat down with Harley to go over his expectations, who will play key roles and the biggest obstacles he’s faced so far.

Q: How do you feel about your team going into the new season? 

A: We got a lot of young guys, I’m excited about that. There will be a lot of growing pains early on, but once we get into this season, we are going to be just fine. 

Q: What are your expectations for this season?

A: The expectation is to always grow through the year. We obviously want to make the playoffs, it’s a big goal for us. 

Q: Who are the guys you expect to play a key role?

A: We got two seniors that are our key roles; Kip Royal and Braeden Arias. They are two guys coming back from last year’s team that made the playoffs, so we want to build off that. 

Q: Who are some of your new players and what do they bring to the team? 

A: We’ve got a lot of new players, we’ve got seven sophomores. Some key guys would be junior Silas McKown, he was a key contributor for us on JV last year and sophomore Gavin Aday will be a big scorer for us. 

Q: What have been some unexpected things you’ve had to deal with now that you’re a head coach? 

A: There are a lot of things. An overall view of the program instead of last year, I was mainly with the JV. So the overall view of, I got to get varsity ready, the JV and the freshmen. When we can try to get down to the junior high and work with those guys as well. Just more of a whole view. 

Q: What are your biggest obstacles this year?

A: Our districts changed a little bit, we added some really good teams into it. We are just working through that and trying to get better and better each day so we can reach our goal of playing in playoffs. 

Q: What games and tournaments are you looking forward to?

A: We are turning up our tournament schedule a little bit. This year we are going to the Venus Tournament, down south of Mansfield. We’re going to stay the night there so I know our guys are excited about building a little camaraderie with each other. It is not just about basketball, it’s about building relationships by going and eating after the game or at the hotel hanging out. I know they’re really looking forward to that. 

Q: How do you feel about the boys playing in a new district?

A: We’re excited for it. We know that there are a lot of challenges that come with that, but we are super excited and ready to compete.

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