CLOVERDALE -- The biggest asset any team can enter a season with is the right mindset. For Pat Rady and his Cloverdale Clovers, they stand at 1-1 on the season, and according to Rady, find themselves in a good position as the season begins.
"The attitude is great," Rady revealed. "We're pleased with the attitude and work ethic, but as we all now at this time of year, every school has that. It's the teams that can maintain that throughout the season, because you're going to have peaks and valleys and you have to be able to handle the peaks and valleys. Hopefully we understand that and hope to be competitive because the schedule is really tough this year."
The Clovers didn't sit idle this off-season. They were involved with a competitive summer league and we're productive.
"We got into a league over at Cascade and we played in a little tournament they had on the last weekend of June and we were really pleased. We had a lot of kids come out and participate, so we thought it was a good summer. Now, we look forward to move on from there," Rady said.
The Clovers opened the season with an impressive outing against Covenant Christian and a win over Riverton Parke. Although Rady has seen some good things out of his squad, he stated before the season that to know what you really have, it's a matter of time.
"It's too soon to tell right now what our strengths will be and our weaknesses because I think you need about five or six games and then you'll now," Rady explained. "I know what we're going to try to attempt and we're going to try to make it a full court game, we like to press, we want to try to push the ball up on the offensive and want to try to apply a lot of pressure on defense. That's our plan right now.
"A lot of times, as four or five games, you might need to go a different route. Right now, this is what we worked on this summer and had good success and so we hope to continue on with that same philosophy," he added.
Cloverdale' ability to put the ball in the basket has never been a question, but you have to stop your opponent to rack up some win. The Clovers know this was a chink in the armor last season and have put in the work, so it doesn't happen this season.
"We hope to be really improved. We thought that was one of the main things last year, it was our Achilles' heel, was our defense. We're probably be in a multiple, we won't be necessarily a straight man-to-man or straight zone -- you'll see us playing both," Rady said.
In 46 years of coaching, Rady is all too aware that what builds and sustains a successful program is depth. The ability to go to the bench and not have the level of your game diminish is immeasurable. This is an element of the game the Clovers will look to build upon as the 2009 season progresses. Rady was asked about what kind of progression arc he sees for his team this season.
"First we hope that we can be competitive and we hope that, as the season goes along, we develop some depth," he said. "If we want to play this way, you need at least an eight or nine man rotation to give a by a breather. So we hope as we go along, we develop a team concept and we hope that we're not a one-dimensional team and we hope that we can be a team that causes problems when people scout us.
"If we can do that, by January or February, I think this is what's important. I'm not one to get caught up on you have to be good right now or we'd start with the sectional. There's a reason they have the sectional at the end of the season. So there's some things we want to experiment with, so as we go along, we're going to be experimenting and see which was we want to go in those avenues," he said.
Cloverdale will battle North Putnam in the first game of the Putnam County Classic Friday at 6:30 p.m.