Q&A with Coach McGuire about boys basketball season

Nick+Darcus+is+one+of+a+few+players+returning+from+last+year%27s+regional+tournament+team.+

Jenny Claus/Rider Media

Nick Darcus is one of a few players returning from last year’s regional tournament team.

Sheridan Allen, Reporter/Photographer

The Rider boys basketball team is coming off a trip to the regional tournament, but when they begin the 2020-21 season next week, the Raiders will be full of new faces. 

The Rider Chronicle sat down with head coach Cliff McGuire to discuss challenges the team will be facing, having such a young team and dealing with COVID. 

Q: What challenges are the players facing this year with less returners and having guys in football during the season?

A: Youth. You know, we have a lot of young kids that are learning on the fly here. (They’re) learning how to be varsity basketball players. There’s a lot of new things that we’re learning how to encounter. 

Q: What are some precautions that are being taken this year to protect the team?

A: We have our protocols that our school and health department have installed. We’re just trying to stay strict to those. We’re wearing a mask in practice, in the locker room, on the bus. We’re trying to stay as safe as possible, with sanitizing and washing. Really just following the expert advice on all of this.

Q: Which new players should other teams watch out for?

A: We’ve got two sophomores, Matt Brown and Braeden Arias, who are doing a really good job coming along. They’re gonna help us a lot this year.

Q: Who are some key returning players and how do you expect them to grow this year?

A: Dylan Fettkether, he’s a third-year varsity player, started for us last year. Parker Newsom is a returning varsity player. Those two kids were learning a lot for leadership, especially our youth. Parker and Dylan are really looking to teach the other guys a lot of different things, not only on the court but off the court.

Q: Who do you think will be your toughest district opponents this season?

A: I feel like this district’s really even. There’s not anybody head-and-shoulders above anybody else, which means every night’s going to be a battle for sure. 

Q: How will this season be different from previous years?

A: A lot of new faces, that’s going to be the biggest thing. New faces with the same standard. Our previous guys have really done a good job building tradition. (We built) a standard of excellence and it’s our guys’ job to maintain that.