Centre boys positioned for success

Forming the nucleus of the Cougar boys’ basketball team this season are (from left) CJ Thompson, Xavier Espinoza, Cody Svoboda, Zach Barney, Austin Peter­son, Cole Srajer. All are seniors except for Espinoza, a junior.
Forming the nucleus of the Cougar boys’ basketball team this season are (from left) CJ Thompson, Xavier Espinoza, Cody Svoboda, Zach Barney, Austin Peter­son, Cole Srajer. All are seniors except for Espinoza, a junior.
Centre boys’ coach Richard Idleman is confident about his Cougar basketball team this season.

“This year’s team has the ability to experience a successful season,” he said.

Looking at his roster and the level of experience, it’s easy to see the reason for his confidence.

The squad returns two starters, senior point guard Cole Srajer, and senior Cody Svoboda, a 6-4 post player.

He also feels confidence in a strong group of ball handlers that includes Srajer, Xavier Espinoza, CJ Thompson and Zach Barney.

“They can move the ball up and down the floor,” he said.

In addition to the positive aspects, the team will face some challenges.

Idleman said the team doesn’t have a tremendous amount of size, so that means they will need to count on post players Cody Svoboda, Max Svoboda, Braxton Smith, Austin Peterson and Jensen Riffel.

“They will have to stay out of foul trouble while working to control the boards,” Idleman said.

Another challenge is using a mix of players.

“Conditioning is going to be really important to our team,” Idleman said. “We have a scenario where we have a mixed nucleus, and with that we need players to get time on the junior varsity court as well as varsity playing time.”

His mix of players seeing varsity court time will include sophomores Brax­ton Smith, Jensen Riffel and Dalton Stika.

As for the mindset of this year’s team, Idleman has reason for enthusiasm.

“I believe, in general, everybody in the program wants to improve and experience success,” he said. “It’s just a question of how hard all of us, myself included, are committed to doing just that.”

Centre opens its season Friday, at Hutchinson to play Central Christian High School.