Boys basketball: McClanahan, Irish not stressing practice period
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The three-week approved summer practice period for West Virginia high school athletes is one that some coaches get a lot out of, but for others, it doesn't do a whole lot for their program.
Charleston Catholic boys basketball Coach Bill McClanahan is in the latter category.
"It's kind of a mixed bag," McClanahan said. "We have so many kids involved with a lot of different sports and things, I don't stress the three-week period really for a lot of time and activities. We get together and it's more of an outline to the players of what to expect in the off-season.
"We are playing in the Poca shootout on Saturday but that is the only thing we are doing," he added. "We have met one time and of my five returning seniors, three were unavailable. You have other scheduling issues and vacations, and that's totally OK."
Despite the lack of much involvement in the three-week period, it certainly hasn't hurt the Catholic program at all.
Last season, the Irish team continued its impressive run of success, making the State Tournament for the ninth straight season before losing in the title game to Tucker County.
McClanahan hopes to guide the program back to the State Tournament yet again this season, possibly taking it one step further than last year and winning a state title like they did in 2012.
The Irish will have a strong senior class of five on which McClanahan will rely heavily in Nick George, Garret McCarty, Russell Miller, Patrick Herlihy and Aaron Persily.
"It's a blessing for us," McClanahan said. "In our program, we depend a lot on seniors. We expect them to set the tone not just on the court, but off the court, too, and in the classroom. They have to be leaders, and to have a group like this, I feel very fortunate."
Of the five seniors, George and McCarty return with the most accolades. George was a first-team All-State selection last season, averaging 15.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. McCarty, meanwhile, was a second-team All-State pick with 12.4 points, 7.2 assists and 2.3 steals per contest.
McClanahan likes what he's seen from the two since the season ended as, unlike many of his players, McCarty and George focus primarily on basketball and don't play baseball.
"I think Nick and Garrett both are working extremely hard," McClanahan said. "They have been playing AAU and working on their games. I'm really excited the potential both bring, and both have a shot at playing at the next level, which would be a wonderful accomplishment."
Besides the five seniors, McClanahan also will rely on four juniors (Sam McKown, Justin Snyder, Roger Burdette, and Ben Fairless), who are expected to continue to work on their games during the off-season leading to expanded roles in the upcoming season.