This year’s Newman Basketball Team has high expectations due to the talent, experience, and leadership within the locker room. Last year turned out to be one of the most successful years in Newman history, as the Greenies went 10-0 in district play and earned the 14 seed in the class 2A basketball tournament. Returning all but one player from last year, and picking up a new face from out of town, the Greenies’ roster has years of experience and the team knows how to win.
“The chemistry from the coaching staff, down to the freshmen is great in the locker room,” said senior Will Bryan. “With the great chemistry this team has, plus already knowing Coach Todd’s system, we have the potential to have a special year.”
Last year’s magical season ended with a second round loss to Red River. It was a close game that could have gone either way. The Greenies lost by two, and their starters had played lots of minutes, not just in that game, but over the course of the season. “We wore out our six guys… we were right there, and we really could have won,” said Coach Kemper Todd.
This year, Coach Todd has the luxury of a deeper line-up, with game experience, and this should prove to be essential to the team during district play and on into the post-season.
Coach Todd raves about the leadership of Michael Markowitz and other seniors on the team. “Michael Markowitz is just a winner,” Todd says. “You can’t say he’s the most skilled player, or smoothest or most athletic or any of those things, but he is a winner.” Markowitz serves as the voice between the players and coach: “He’s very caring about the team. He’ll just tell me point blank at times if he thinks that I’m pushing them to hard, or I’m riding someone too hard, or I’m wrong, just flat wrong.”
This summer, Newman participated in the De La Salle Summer League and looked impressive, losing only 1 game in a league that featured Saint Charles Catholic, Holy Cross, and East Jeff among others. Now, in year two under Coach Todd, the players have adapted to their new coach, and are familiar to his style of basketball.
This Newman team, led by Markowitz and seniors Odell Beckham, Mitchell Bernstein and Will Bryan, has a wide variety of skill sets, with each individual player bringing something unique to the team. Sam Kohnke, junior, is a sharpshooter with range. Over the summer, Sam worked on all aspects of his game making him a focal point for defenses preparing to play against Newman. Duke Douglass is possibly the most exciting player on this Newman team to watch. The 6’4 sophomore sensation is an excellent low-post player that has developed a deadly mid-range jumpshot over the summer. Once football season ends, Braden Weaver and Odell Beckham look to get back into basketball form, and become major contributors to the team, with their knowledge of the game and athleticism. Hudson McAshan and Joren Grue provide depth at the forward and center positions. In addition, Jonathan Drennan and Saunders Alpaugh, round out the Greenies young and athletic frontcourt. Michael Hagan-Daniel, is a new kid from San Antonio, TX. He is an athletic, 6’1 junior with excellent ball skills. He is a dangerous and clever offensive threat, looking to score whenever he touches the ball.
Newman’s first scrimmage is upon us. Practice has begun and team captain Michael Markowitz is anxious for this upcoming season. “We like to think we are working just as hard, if not harder, than all of our competition, and I cannot wait to just get out there and ball hard.”
By Henry Opotowsky