College basketball: Wildcats gear up for 2013-14 campaign with eyes on the prize

Published: Thursday, Nov. 7 2013 11:18 p.m. MST

"Offensively, the game comes really easy to him," Rahe said of Berry. "He has a great feel for what's there; he can make plays for others, and he's obviously able to get his own. He has a feel for when to get somebody else a shot and when to get his own shot. He's got a really good awareness and good feel for the game. He's very versatile offensively — he can shoot it, bounce it, make plays for others, he's quick, he's able to go by guys, and he's a good finisher.

"The defensive side of the ball is where he's really got his challenges. He's made strides in that area — now he needs to shore up and give consistent effort defensively."

Tresnak, who averaged 11.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocked shots last season, has impressed Rahe with his continual improvement.

"Every year he's kinda made a nice little jump," the Wildcats' coach said. "He's gotten leaner and lowered his body fat, and he's more mobile now and is able to chase rebounds. Every area of his game has improved just because he can move better."

Richardson, who averaged 7.2 points and 2.8 assists last season, can play either the point or shooting guard position.

The Wildcats' other two likely starters are 6-foot-9 sophomore forward Joel Bolomboy, who averaged 7.0 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks last season as a freshman; and 6-foot-2 guard Jeremy Senglin, a true freshman who hails from Texas.

"Bolomboy's got a chance to be a good player, there's no question," Rahe said. "He has improved his skill level and low-post scoring, and people haven't seen it, but he can really shoot the ball, too."

As for Senglin, coach Rahe feels like this young man is ready to run the team from the point guard position.

"He's got a chance to be a really good player," Rahe said. "He's got a great feel and a high skill level, he's a good athlete, he's the whole package. And he's very confident.

"The biggest thing is learning how to defend at the Division I level. But he's earned it, and his teammates know he's earned it, and he's ready to take over."

Senglin led the team in scoring in its exhibition victory over Adams State last weekend with 17 points.

The team's top reserves will be 6-foot-7 forward Kyndahl Hill, a redshirt freshman from Texas; Royce Williams, a 6-foot-5 junior swingman; and 6-foot-4 freshman guard Richaud Gittens from Tempe, Ariz.

Two veteran big men, 6-foot-7 senior forward Byron Fulton (ankle) and 6-foot-10 junior center James Hajek (knee), have been battling persistent injury problems but are being counted on to contribute if they can get healthy.

The Wildcats' preseason schedule is a tough one, "probably the toughest one I've had since I've been here," Rahe said.

Not only are they opening the campaign tonight against the powerful Cougars at Provo, where Weber State is 0-19 all-time, but they'll also face UCLA, Colorado State, Texas-Arlington and Utah Valley on the road, as well as Utah State, San Jose State and just a pair of cupcakes — those perennial hoops powerhouses Saint Katherine College and Northern New Mexico — at home.

"We really don't talk much about winning and losing and goals and all that kinda stuff," Rahe said. "We never have. We just talk about focusing on the process daily — what have we got to do today, what have we got to do to get better today — and then concentrate on every guy doing their job today.

"Whether it's defensively or offensively, just do your job and then if you get five guys doing their job on that possession defensively, you're going to have a good possession. And offensively, you're going to have a good offensive possession. And then the scoreboard takes care of itself and then all the other stuff down the road takes care of itself. And we really try to focus on that.

"We're obviously a long ways away right now," he said. "I mean, we've got a whole bunch of work to do. We've got a mix of veterans and new guys; that's kind of where our balance is. New guys, obviously, it takes a long time to get really comfortable in our system. The veterans seem to be ahead of our new guys, which is just the way it is.

"And as soon as the new guys catch up, then I think we've got a chance to be a real competitive team. I think we've got some good pieces that we can use. We're just trying to get this team to be the best this team can be. And wherever that takes us, it takes us. We really try not to ever get ahead of ourselves, it's a waste of energy, a waste of time. … Focus on a daily basis and do your job, just do your job. … If we keep ’em focused on that, then everything else will take care of itself."

And someday soon, hopefully, March Madness will come calling the ’Cats again.

EMAIL: rhollis@desnews.com

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