New Trier boys basketball preview

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Point guard Jordan Thomas

Thomas was New Trier’s starting shooting guard last season, primarily playing off the ball and letting 2013 graduate Reid Berman run the offense. Thomas shifts over to point guard this year. The senior said he will have the ball in his hands more often and that he will try to create opportunities for himself and others more than he did as a junior.

Both Thomas and junior David Hammes have the speed, skill and quickness to beat defenders off the dribble, and that figures to be an important part of the Trevians’ offense. New Trier doesn’t have the interior presence it has had in recent years — with Connor Boehm (Dartmouth), and then Steven Cook (Princeton) and Aaron Angel last year. Senior Ricky Samuelson said that will force New Trier’s perimeter players to be more assertive in driving to the hoop.

Center Mark Snyder

Snyder and junior Sean Boyd are New Trier’s tallest players, but both are only 6-foot-4. Because of this lack of size relative to years past, the Trevians likely will need all five players crashing the defensive glass.

“It’s going to be a team effort on rebounding,” said Snyder, a senior. “We’re not going to leave one or two players to handle the boards. It’s going to be a team effort on defense, and a team effort on rebounding. We’re going to — me and a couple of the big guys — we’re going to work our butts off boxing out, but we’re also going to rely on our guards to help rebound. I’m not too nervous. I think if we have five guys going to the boards, that shouldn’t be a problem.”

Small forward Ricky Samuelson

Samuelson was a reserve during New Trier’s postseason run a year ago, providing the team with accurate 3-point shooting off the bench. Samuelson is expected to be important this year as well, helping the Trevians space the floor and keeping defenders from collapsing on Thomas and Hammes as they penetrate into the lane.

Without Berman or Cook, coach Scott Fricke said that the precision with which the offense is run — especially against solid defensive teams like Maine South — will be vital.

“Our offense has to be executed so much better this year than it was last year,” Fricke said. “We had a lot of quick hitters and a lot stuff to take advantage of our strengths last year. This year, we’ve got to be really on the same page, executing to perfection.”

New Trier is a top team in the area and the conference every year. … Their lower levels are strong, and Coach [Scott] Fricke and his staff do a great job of developing talent in the Trevian program.

2012-13 record: 28-6 overall, 8-2 CSL South

2013 playoffs: Lost in supersectional of Class 4A to Simeon 

Head coach: Scott Fricke, sixth season

Projected starting five: sr. PG Jordan Thomas, jr. SG David Hammes, sr. SF Ricky Samuelson, jr. PF Robbie Abuls, sr. C Mark Snyder.

Game to watch: Loyola at New Trier, 6:30 p.m. today. The Trevians will play their biggest rival in what figures to be New Trier’s first significant test of the season.

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