By Dave Wagner
After a busy June, the Clovis Wildcats boys basketball team is ready for some down time — even head coach J.D. Isler.
The Cats have participated in several team camps since late May. They also had their summer league games at Rock Staubus Gym, and most of the players were on a team that won a state AAU championship in Albuquerque last month.
“I think the kids need a break, and the coach needs a break,” the enthusiastic Isler said. “We had a pretty good month of June, but it’s been pretty hectic.”
Traveling with what Isler anticipates will be his 10-man nucleus next season, CHS finished second in the Bob Knight Texas Tech Team Camp last Thursday through Sunday at Lubbock. The Cats went 9-1 in round-robin play to earn a No. 1 seed for the tournament, then defeated Bishop Lynch from the Dallas area and Whitehouse, Texas, to reach the finals, where they lost to Lubbock Coronado.
Clovis had defeated Coronado in the round-robin portion of the event.
“We played pretty well,” Isler said of last weekend’s camp. “I thought everybody contributed. (Senior guard) Bud Willis played well, and (senior forward-guard) Justin Pinckney shot the ball pretty well.
“We need a little work on defense, but I felt pretty good about what we accomplished this summer.”
Most of the games were played on auxiliary courts at Tech’s United Spirit Arena, but the championship contest was played on the main arena floor.
“It was pretty fun,” Pinckney said. “I’ve been to a Tech game before and watched games there on TV, so playing there was pretty exciting.”
Clovis’ only loss in preliminary games was to Albuquerque St. Pius. The Cats were a bit shorthanded for the final, with junior John Props sitting out due to a pulled muscle in his back and junior guard Dominique Easterlin coming down ill after apparently eating something which didn’t agree with him.
“It changed our rotations a little bit,” Pinckney said. “Other people had to pick up the extra minutes.”
Knight interacted with the teams throughout the camp, Isler said.
“He spoke to the kids each day, and he had a coaching clinic for the coaches on two nights.”