Who will reign

Lisa Paine — Sports Editor

Lisa Paine — Sports Editor

Basketball season is upon us with the girls’ season openers that took place on Tuesday and the boys’ seasons begin December 6.

The View unveils its annual Hoops Preview Dec. 8 and without giving away the entire hand from each school, we’ll give an inside look at just what changes— and how many–each squad will face this season, and they are numerous.

We’ve got you covered, though, if anyone is looking to compare last season with the upcoming one, they might want to reconsider that plan. The numerous transfers into and out of our Genesee County school districts will require a clean slate and a stack of rosters just to keep up with the player and coaching changes that will be very noticeable at each school.

The players’ names might be familiar, but the colors they will be wearing and the schools they represent will be very different, indeed. Schools of choice and open enrollment have led several players to sign on to contend with teams that have gone deep into the post-season. That will give our local teams a lot more to think about each week.

As an example, the Lapeer West boys’ squad gets bolstered by a transfer from Davison, Goodrich girls’ picks up a player from Grand Blanc and Swartz Creek now has in its stable one of, if not the best player in the County. Some teams lose key starters, with a handful starting from scratch after their entire starting lineup graduated. Still others simply find that some of their veteran and/or up-and-coming players have dropped basketball altogether in lieu of other ambitions toward music, art and other sports as they look for scholarship opportunities in volleyball, softball, track and other sports.

Heads also will turn as fans take note of the skippers at the helm of many of our programs, with several coaches set to retire at the end of the 2011-12 campaign, while others have already moved on leaving the door open for up-and-coming coaches who now will be in charge.

Many of the teams are deep and strong in numbers after several seasons of rebuilding, while others return just one player. That leaves a lot of unanswered questions, untested talent and many unknowns that will play out over the first couple of weeks and beyond. The pressure cooker has been turned on and it remains to be seen just who will step in and take the leadership reigns and who is content to take the backup roles on each squad. Others, serving their time through ineligibility after transferring mid-year last season, are now free and clear to take their game to the next level, perhaps leaving some who thought their varsity position was in the bag on the reserve squad or at the JV level instead. That’s the nature of the shift that takes place each and every season.

No matter which team you root for, the league races will be feverish and most have a lot more parity than last season, so fans will certainly get their monies worth. A majority of the coaches feel there will be a much higher level of ball played across the board, so blow the whistle, tip the ball and let’s get the season underway!

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