Bulldogs more comfortable
By Erik Buchinger
New London High School boys’ basketball head coach Kurt Schommer said he and his team have become more comfortable with each other in his second season with the Bulldogs.
New London finished 7-16 last season in Schommer’s first year in charge, but the team is much further ahead going into this year at this time than last year, he said.
“Coming in this year is a huge difference,” Schommer said. “Our second day of practice this year seemed like it was like our third week of practice last year. The steps that we’ve made this year so much faster is awesome.”
New London lost its first three games of last season and eventually dropped to 2-7.
“It was tough at first, it really was,” Schommer said. “We had a couple seniors that were lost that we were leaning on to help us with guidance and leadership, but some guys were a bit certain of their role and where they would fit on this team.”
Schommer said over time, the Bulldogs started to understand his ideas and bought in to the system.
“Coming into start anything new for the first time is always the hardest,” Schommer said. “Guys aren’t used to your expectations, your philosophies, the way you want practices run and everything like that. That’s hard to do, but I feel like we really started to get into it halfway through the year towards the end of the year.”
Last year’s second-leading scorer Kyle Wolf in points per game said the team came together as the season went on.
“It started off like we didn’t know what we were going to do,” Wolf said. “We didn’t know what his philosophy was, but as the year went on, we really caught on with what he was trying to do.”
New London will bring back several key pieces to last year’s team, excluding Hunter Zaddack, who graduated.
“Experience is huge obviously,” Schommer said. “We played three sophomores a lot last year, and having so much experience back, it’s great. The chemistry this year is better, and they know how to set the tone at practice. The younger guys are now leaning towards them, and they’ve watched and followed their lead.”
Wolf, who his going into his junior season, said the team is onboard with Schommer going into the coach’s second year with the team.
“I feel really comfortable this year,” Wolf said. “He knows what he’s doing, and he really knows his stuff, so I trust everything that he’s put into us, and we’ve just got to trust him.”
Though practices can be tough at times, Schommer said he enjoys being with his team.
“Genuinely in my heart, I love these guys,” Schommer said. “I care about them so much, and they might not think it sometimes the way I get on them in practices, but sometimes it’s a little bit of tough love, and sometimes it’s a little kick in the butt that gets them going, and then a pat on the back later.”
Schommer said he hopes to grow his players into great young men in one of his long-term goals for the program.
“My main goal is that these guys are going to be hard working, they’re going to be great young men, they’re going to be listening, they’re going to be respectful and they’re going to respect the program,” Schommer said. “Once that comes, success will come itself.”