Undersized Vikings start season
Published 9:47 am Tuesday, December 7, 2004
By By ADAM FISHER / Niles Daily Star
When Niles basketball team kicks off its season tonight against South Bend (Ind.) Washington, there is one thing the Vikings must absolutley do, according to head coach Denny Parks - box out.
With the tallest Vikings standing at 6-3, Parks said his team will be outsized in most games this year. But, Niles' lack of heighth won't be a problem, if the Vikings can get rebounds.
The Vikings will need to do everything possible to avoid a year like last year, when they went 4-17 and lost in the first game of districts. Parks is looking to return Niles to the team that went to the state semifinals in 2000 and the quarterfinals in 2002.
The biggest problem with the Vikings last season, Parks said, was the team's work ethic. Niles also lacked leadership, he said. He doesn't foresee that as a problem with this year's team.
Niles is a young team that returns one full-time starter from last year, junior point guard Nate Parks. The Vikings will start two juniors and two seniors tonight, with the fifth starter still up in the air. But Parks said, no matter who starts, most his bench will see playing time.
While Parks said the Vikings' lack of size is their biggest problem, perhaps Niles second largest hurdle is being in the Big 16's West Division along with preseason No. 1 Benton Harbor.
The Tigers feature Wilson Chandler, a 6-7 senior who averaged 22 points per game last year and has already committed to play at DePaul University.
But Benton Harbor being good is nothing new, Parks said. And if the Vikings play as hard as they can, they should be right with the Tigers by season's end.