2015-16 Boys Basketball Preview

2015-16 Boys Basketball Preview

Teddy Marantz and Kevin Fuller

After an unsuccessful fall season for just about every team at Stamford High (in terms of making state/FCIAC tournaments), the winter teams will have the opportunity to shine a little brighter, starting with one of the most successful programs Stamford High has to offer, the boys basketball team.

Led by head coach Danny Melzer and captains Jay Devito and Steffon Harding, the Black Knights will look to pick up where they left off after finding their way to both the FCIACs and the states last year. That’s going to be a lot tougher this year, as the team graduated much of its every-game players.

One of those players, star center Kwe Askew, is now playing at LIU Brooklyn.

Devito (2) drives past Westhill's Tyrell Alexander (10)
Devito (2) drives past Westhill’s Tyrell Alexander (10)

Devito acknowledged the loss of Askew, but was optimistic about it. “It’s definitely going to hurt losing a 6″7 kid who was a defensive force, and a few key scorers… But if we buy into what our coach is trying to do we can be successful this year,” he said.

Melzer also addressed the loss of much of last year’s varsity team, explaining  what the loss of Askew means. “We graduated 80% of our starting five,” he said, “so we are going to miss their experience. Kwe changed the game defensively; we’re going to have to adjust to not having him in the middle.”

Luckily for the Black Knights, the team still has star G/F Devito and three-point machine Yan Marté. Both consistently played on varsity last year and Devito started almost every game. Devito talked about how the team is shaping up, explaining that he feels the team is “looking like a strong defensive team.”

“We can run and we are very unselfish,” Devito exclaimed. “We all have the same goal… to win.”

Coach Danny Melzer
Coach Danny Melzer

Devito was confident that his squad will compete with any team that comes their way. “The FCIAC is wide open, there isn’t one team that is the favorite, everyone will be in the mix.”

Melzer also saw bright things for his team. “I feel confident we are going to compete every night,” Melzer explained, while also making it known that his goals for the season are to “beat Westhill for the city championship as well as make the FCIAC and state tournaments.”

Joining Devito and Marte is co-captain and tough power forward Harding, who came off the bench for varsity last year. The 6-foot powerhouse forward is a serious force when driving to the hoop, showing off athleticism and power he uses in football as an offensive lineman.

When asked about how he’s preparing for a heavier workload, Harding responded “I’m prepared because I been in the [gym] working and I have great teammates to back me up.”

Of course those big three will need a supporting cast. The players around them will need to step up. Melzer feels seniors Nii Pobee (G), and Noe Jacotin (F) are “players to watch” this year. Pobee is new to the team.

Junior Guard Nico Laveris looks to pass last season, as a sophomore
Junior Guard Nico Laveris looks to pass last season, as a sophomore

Melzer also plans to use his young talent, including junior guards Nico Laveris and Jerome Atkinson. Laveris is up to the challenge.”It feels great knowing that I’ve worked hard enough over the past two years to get myself to this point, but it’s not over. We still have a lot to do and a lot to prove as a team.”