Cougars look to grow with success

Thursday, December 3, 2009

ROACHDALE -- After graduating seven seniors from its team last year, North Putnam is looking to some of its younger players to help fill the voids that have been left.

The Cougars have only two seniors on the squad this year -- Brock Jones and Kyle Adams -- but first year head coach Nathan Martindale isn't worried about having only two seniors this year because he knows he has the players that can do the job.

"James Hedrick and Tim Wiltermood split for us last year with playing JV and varsity, and I think both of them could have played a lot of minutes on the varsity level last year if we didn't have so many seniors on the team.

"Wiltermood and Hedrick played a lot together last year on JV and that gave them a chance to gel with each other and now they are ready to go," Martindale added. "So we're excited to see what we can do as we get more experience in."

Even though Martindale has high expectations for these two, he is still looking to his seniors to help mold the younger players.

"I'm really looking for our seniors to be there for us this year," Martindale said. "This is their third year on varsity so, I'm looking for them to help the younger players with certain situations on the court because they have been in these situations before.

"And I'm looking for James, Tim and newcomer Travis Franklin to be our big three this year to provide us with some energy and athleticism this year. Those three players played a lot of JV last year they are hungry and they want to win now, and I don't see any problems if we keep doing what we are doing in the direction we're going."

The roster and the head coach position aren't the only things that have changed this year for the Cougars -- so has its offensive scheme.

"We have moved away from the multiple sets offense and have moved to more of a motion offense this season," Martindale said. "We will be doing a lot of ball screening and cutting, which is different from last year."

Even though there are some major changes within the Cougar program this year, one thing hasn't changed -- the first goal of the season.

"First goal of this season is to win county," Martindale said. "I think that is everybody's goal within the county is to win that championship. I mean, that's bragging rights in your area."

Martindale said after the county there is only one goal for the team -- improvement.

"The next goal for us is to make steps to improve ourselves individually and as a team so when March gets here we can give teams fits. And you never know how these kids will progress and our ultimate goal is to be ready to give teams problems in March," Martindale said.

Martindale said the transition of him becoming the new head coach of the Cougars has been an easy one.

"These guys know me from last year and they know what I expect and how I run things. So the transition has been a smooth one," Martindale said.

North Putnam will take on Cloverdale in the opening game of the Putnam County Classic Friday night at 6:30 p.m.