November 29, 2006
Baymen Will Rely on Core of Veterans to Lead
"My goal is to be as good as we possibly can be when we're done [with the season]," said Hampton Bays' head coach Pete Meehan during a recent interview. "I want to see this team improve every day."
Last season, the Baymen battled through a difficult League VII schedule that included two games each against Class C champion Wyandanch and Class D champion Southold although Hampton Bays still managed to scrape by with an overall record of 6-13. This season, with the graduation of key starters Chris Blevins and Anthony Andrews, the Baymen will need their small group of returning players to lead a young varsity hoops team into battle.
Returning junior forward Nick Lynch is a reliable scorer, a physical player and easily one of the most athletic players on the court come game time after a sophomore season that saw him average 12 points per game. Lynch, a standout on the Hampton Bays football team, is a strong inside player who stands at six-two. He'll be the likely candidate to lead the Baymen's offense after having played on the varsity as a ninth and tenth grader.
Jeremy Fraser, a five-ten starting guard who wasn't counted on too much in the scoring department last season will also be looked upon to step up his offensive game as will six-three forward T.J. Besch who began the season on the varsity last season and is not only the biggest player on the Baymen team, but also one of its best inside players. "We're going to need double figures in points and rebounds from him," said Meehan.
Senior Andrew Raimo, a four-year varsity player, will also have a bigger role this season with Ryan Lovett, a six-two senior forward providing strong outside shooting skills off the bench.
Another new player looking to make an immediate impact is junior George Kovlakas. Kovlakas played on the junior varsity last season and will see action at point guard. "He's a kid that has improved a lot and we need him to make good decisions with the ball," said Meehan.
David Acevedo, a junior point guard, may be the team's best athlete according to Meehan, utilizing his quickness and work ethic to provide a defensive lift off Hampton Bays' bench.
Six-foot-two sophomore Chris Rydberg is one of the Baymen's bigger, stronger players who can rebound and provide offense on the interior, Chris Raimo, a junior, also stands six-two and can play guard while yet another new player is sophomore Davie Assis. Assis, a 6-1 sophomore who transferred from Florida "is still learning the system. He'll help us in some way this year," Meehan said.
Rich Pecaro came up to varsity as a sophomore last season and showed the ability to score and play bigger than his six-foot frame. Pecaro is a candidate to start at one of Hampton Bays' forward spots and he'll provide offense when he's on the floor.
Junior Edison Blakaj played on the varsity as a freshman last season although a recent shoulder injury may sideline him for the season.
"We're still trying to see who's going to play where," said Meehan. "We're very versatile, but we're versatile by necessity. We don't return a lot of experience or scoring outside of Nick [Lynch], so we're going to have to try and get better fast. It's a tough league and we'll need to step up our defensive play. We need to focus on just getting better and improving as much as we possibly can."
Hampton Bays hosts Smithtown West in a non-league game on December 5 before hosting a four-team tournament that includes Southold, Westhampton and Eastport on December 9.