With a new basketball season, a new coach running the squad and the Cottonwood Colts itching to get back onto the court, it’s no wonder that both the coach and his team are happy things are underway.
“We’re getting antsy, all excited to be playing basketball again,” coach Bernie Graziano said. “It’s a new season, great support, an awesome atmosphere; just happy to get the ball rolling again.”
If there’s one word that comes to mind about this year’s season, Graziano said it would have to be “confidence.”
“There’s always room for that,” he said. “I’d love us to come into the games and work hard, but mostly believe in ourselves. I think confidence for this team is huge and will be an asset for them.”
The Colts record last year was 4-19 overall; and region play was 2-8. Some of those losses were in close games, and Graziano wants his players to put all their effort onto the court, and keep their heads held high this season.
“I believe if we get that confidence going in the preseason, we can have it throughout the rest of the year, and that’s what I’d like to see. They’re a great group of guys and are awesome to work with.”
This is Graziano’s first year coaching at Cottonwood High School. Before this he coached at Granger High. He said he’s happy to be at Cottonwood and wants to help out in any way that he can.
“I’ve coached for a lot of good schools in the past. I’m here with Cottonwood now, and I like what I’ve seen and enjoy the kids here. It’s a good community, and there are friendly supporters everywhere I go. It’s been nice,” he said.
Knowing he has only two seniors on the team, and very little higher-level playing experience with the rest of the boys, the coach understands there will be a lot of learning and challenges knocking at the door.
“This team is extremely young and don’t have much varsity experience,” he noted. “We have one returning starter that’s a senior, and another senior who will be coming off the bench for us. So, yeah, we have a very, very young Colts team.”
In his eyes, however, these young players have loads of talent, and they all have bright futures ahead of them. Graziano wants his players to know that he admires their desire to play with passion and show how hard they’re willing to work.
“I just want them to have fun this year and show how much we love this game. This team as a whole will come together at the beginning of the season and be there for one another. That’s something to be proud of in itself,” he said. l