Following a 22-5 record and a trip to the Final Four a season ago, Holy Family has high hopes in the 2019-2020 season under 10th-year head coach Peter Villecco, despite losing seven seniors. “I …
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Following a 22-5 record and a trip to the Final Four a season ago, Holy Family has high hopes in the 2019-2020 season under 10th-year head coach Peter Villecco, despite losing seven seniors.
“I don’t want to say we are in transition, but we have to really coach those kids we have in the gym right now,” Villecco said in a phone interview last week. “We did lose a lot of talent, but we are really excited to coach the guys we have now. Our goal is to help this group get better every day. Really the last four of five years, we have preached to our guys to control what they can, and sometimes that’s not the scoreboard.”
Leading the charge for the Tigers will be a senior class made up of five — including guards Garrett Green and Dominic Nellis. Three potential newcomers in the starting lineup in seniors Jacob Van Handel, Andrew Campbell and junior Blake Hammond will also be expected to carry a heavy load for HF this season.
“We know that as senior leaders, we are in really good shape. With their character their jobs this year is when they are done, to pass the baton to the young kids and continue to move the program to a good place,” Villecco said.
However, this team will likely go as 3rd-year starter Nellis goes. As a coach on the floor, mostly utilized as the facilitator of the offense, his scoring clip of 4.2 points per game a season ago should increase with more opportunities to put the ball in the basket. No matter what happens with this roster this season, one constant will be the stability of the signal-caller at the top of the attack.
“He is a tremendous leader and a really good playmaker for us. It will be interesting because he is so unselfish by nature, and we are encouraging him to think score more. That has been a topic of conversation since March, so we hope to see some growth in that area. Dom is like an extension of me on the floor. He gets the guys in the right spots, and he’s a high-character kid. When the ball is in his hands, you feel good, and normally we get a quality shot when he is running the show.”
Tallying a 14-2 record in conference play last year in large part to experience and depth, a few more question marks reside behind the starting five. New, younger players will be asked to step up into different roles on this varsity roster. Villecco stated: “We kind of have to figure it out” beyond the starters as up to three freshmen could see time on the floor. And despite the changes, the veteran coach is excited to see the freshman class and others evolve.
“A goal for us is to give great effort, have a good attitude, and move onto the next day,” Villecco said. “Hopefully, by the end of the year, we will be a tough out. I expect us to be a lot better in February than we will be in early December. We have really good kids, and we are excited for the challenge.”
The Tigers will start their season Dec. 5 on the road against D’Evelyn at 7 p.m.
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