Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hobbs boys hoops hard at work; preseason schedule

Clayton Jones/News-Sun
Hobbs senior Austin Montoya at practice Tuesday.
  I stepped through the doors at Tasker Arena Tuesday morning to find 20-plus athletes hustling, yelling, and screeching their sneakers across the gym floor.
  Yep, it's basketball season.
  The Hobbs boys basketball team was hard at work already as the Eagles have less than two weeks until their opener Nov. 15 at Midland Lee (at Midland College's Chap Center). The hour-and-a-half practice concentrated mostly on defense – both half and full court – with a lot of trapping.
  Talented junior Dane Pannell seems to have recovered fully after banging up his knee a little bit over the summer as he looked very good. Teaming him with senior point guard Austin Montoya and senior forward Aaron Ibarra and that is a solid three for Hobbs to build off of. Those three teamed up with Jesus Rodriguez (another point guard type) and Andrew Barrientes (a sniper from beyond the arc) during practice looked very fluid together.
  One thing Hobbs won't have is a lot of height, but what it lacks in that, it makes up for in speed. The Eagles will be a tough matchup speed wise for many teams. With several of the reserves (I'm not positive about all their names yet) who looked good out there Tuesday and Hobbs should rebound from a tough 12-17 season from a year ago (tying a mark set in 1948 for the most losses in the program's history).
  But it's going to be key for Eagle fans to be patient (something I know they aren't used to). It may take a little time for the team to find its groove with the up-tempo style. Also, with not a lot of players coming back with quality varsity experience, it will take time for some to catch up to the speed of the varsity game. The biggest jump (in all sports) for prep athletes is going from the JV to the varsity level.
  I'm looking forward to the Black & Gold Scrimmage 5:30 p.m. Thursday and the Eagles' scrimmage Nov. 12 to see how things are shaping up. I know first-year coach Mike Smith (a former Eagle) and his coaching staff (including former Eagles Vince Taylor and Shelby Reeves) have been putting the team through the paces to get them ready.
  Key preseason dates:
  - Thursday, 5:30 p.m.: Black & Gold Scrimmage
  - Nov. 12, 10 a.m.: Host scrimmage against Odessa Permian, El Paso Montwood, Seminole, Deming
  * Also a reminder, I'll be at every Hobbs boys game this season, the Black & Gold Scrimmage and the Nov. 12 scrimmage and to get updates and stats from those games and scrimmages, follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/HobbsSportsGuy