WILLIAMS, Ariz. - Led by new head coach David "Red" McFerren, the Williams High School (WHS) boys basketball team spent the last three weeks preparing for the upcoming season.
McFerren, who also teaches world history and physical education (PE), comes to Williams from Attica, Kan. He has taught social studies and PE for 18 years. He has 13 years of coaching experience in basketball, football, baseball and volleyball.
Red, as his fellow coaches and teachers know him because of the red hair he had as a child, graduated from Northern Arizona University (NAU) with a degree in physical education and a minor in social studies. After receiving his bachelor's, he earned an economics degree from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
"I'm real excited for this season, we're going to be a very deep team. We'll probably end up going 10 or 11 deep in our rotation," said McFerren. "We have a bunch of leaders out there, three seniors and a couple juniors that played last year. It's just a great leadership bunch, and I'm real excited to have them."
The seniors on this year's varsity squad are all returning players from last season. With the sophomore class being the largest, McFerren said some of those players will play on both the junior varsity and varsity teams.
Offensively, McFerren said he is applying last year's offense because the team already knows it. He will add new elements to that offense and make some adjustments as well. He said he wants an offense that is based around a lot of continuation, movement and transition.
"We're going to be very small really. We don't have a true center or big man. It's mainly going to be five guards or five short forwards on the court," McFerren said. "[Senior] Jeff Brownlee is my tallest guy and he faces the basket, so he plays more of a small forward or power forward position."
McFerren added the key to winning with such a small team is boxing out and crashing the boards.
"We have to make sure we block out and rebound," said the head coach. "Then hopefully we can also get the other teams in foul trouble by getting them on our hips."
Defensively, McFerren said he likes man-to-man but thinks a 2-3 zone is the best fit for this team. With a zone defense. undersized teams like the Vikings still have a decent chance to rebound effectively and consistently.
McFerren said he plans on pressing a lot this season. As long as the Vikings stay out of foul trouble, expect a lot of high-intensity full court and half court pressing.
McFerren said he expects the 6-4 Brownlee to be a team leader and likely the team's top scorer. He also said that junior Joaquin Salaz, a transfer from Ash Fork, is a big addition this year.
"Alessandro Fadda, the transfer student from Italy, looks like a ball player too. Colton Grantham, Julian Zamorano, Alejandro Caballero and Leo Lopez should all be impressive this year as well," said McFerren. "I'm excited for this season, I think the boys are going to work hard for me."
The Williams-Grand Canyon News went to print before the Vikings' first two games of the regular season, Monday at Camp Verde and Tuesday against Winslow High.
The next Vikings basketball game is Nov. 28 at home against Joseph City. The Williams Route 66 Holiday Classic Tournament is Nov. 29-Dec. 1. Eight boys teams and eight girls teams will compete in the annual three-day tournament.