Red Raiders' early returns
Tosa East coach Tim Arndorfer offers thoughts on young season
The defending state champion Wauwatosa East boys basketball team is off to a fast start and things are looking even better with the impending addition of sophomore Larry Bradley Jr.
NOW reporter Tom "Sky" Skibosh talked with Tosa East coach Tim Arndorfer about his early season observations.
TS: You are unbeaten in the Greater Metro Conference and 5-1 overall. What are your thoughts on your team's start?
TA: We got an early start as we only had six days of practice before the MPS tournament. We didn't play particularly well in those three games. Our comeback against Arrowhead was a remarkable achievement. We showed flashes of where we can be. I thought our best effort came in the King game, even though we didn't finish well. From then on I felt we were starting to turn a page.
TS: You try not to bring up last year's team to this year's guys. Why not?
TA: So many people are asking, 'Are you going to repeat?' It's a big expectation. I don't want the kids to feel the pressure. This isn't last year's team. We have a different dynamic. We don't have to live up to last year's team to be successful. … I want these guys to leave their own mark.
TS: What have been the positives so far this season?
TA: I've been pleased with the play of Eric Neal; he has really started to figure out his role. I'm happy with the seniors, and how they are leading by example. I'm pleased with how everyone is getting along.
TS: What does your team needs to work on?
TA: We need vocal leadership. Offensively, we're not shooting well. I'm a little disappointed that we're shooting 30 percent from 3-point range. Early on our shot selection was not good. These are all areas we think we can improve on.
TS: Winning the GMC title is your first goal. How difficult a task will that be?
TA: As a coaching staff, we've had to realize our guys are getting every team's best effort. There's a target on our back. That probably explains some of our slow starts. We're focusing on the conference championship. We know we have great teams in the conference and we need to succeed there to win going into our playoff.
TS: How do you see the GMC shaping up?
TA: Menomonee Falls has as much talent as anyone and they will improve once they figure things out. Brookfield East gave us one of the best tests we've had. West Allis Central is lot better than in the past. Brookfield Central is going to be fundamentally sound. Marquette, with Garrett Maloney, is a tough matchup.
TS: This is your second season as a head coach. How is it different from the first?
TA: I think I learned a lot last year, chief among them is patience. I am doing my best not to overreact to some of the early challenges, with our offense in particular. I think knowing how it went - the up and downs - that as long as we stick together as a staff and a team, that we can get through the downs.
TS: How do you feel your team handled the off-the-court distractions of the Larry Bradley Jr. situation?
TA: The team has welcomed him and he has been good working to fit in. Sometimes you expect a highly touted played to come in and run the ship. He hasn't been that way.
TS: Speaking of Bradley, for those who have not seen him play, how would you describe him?
TA: He's got a tremendous amount of skill. His size (6-4) makes him a matchup problem. He handles the ball well, sees the floor better than anyone I can recall in recent memory, at our school anyway. … He is one of those unique players that people will remember when he leaves.
Tom "Sky" Skibosh can be reached at (262) 446-6620.
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