New Era for Tyler Boys
To say the basketball program at Tyler Consolidated hasn’t been on solid ground the past five or six years is an understatement. Hopefully all that has changed with the hiring of a new and energetic young coach. Last season, the Silver Knights, under veteran coach Rick Leach, had a banner year and made a run all the way to the state basketball tournament where they gave the eventual champions Wheeling Central fits in the opening round.
Several of the players from that team are returning, and several more are joining in to give Coach Nutter a strong nucleus to build around. Returning for his senior season is 6’senior point guard Griffin Phillips. Last season Phillips led the Knights in several categories, including points and steals.
Coach Nutter is just getting to know his team, and already he’s recognized Phillips is a leader. He’s the Knights’ bread and butter; what he does on the court and how he helps the younger kids says a lot about him. He’s an athlete, and he gives 100 percent all the time.
The Knights could be very good, but it’s early, and they have a lot of work to do.
As athletic as Phillips is, two other starters are back, and both are capable of taking over a ball game. Junior Mark Rucker, along with Phillips, just finished up the football season. However, Rucker is more than ready to get back on the court and show his talents. Rucker is a great high school athlete, who ended the football season as one of the state’s top scorers – finishing with 168 points. Last season, he had several double figure games while nearly always drawing the toughest defender,
Phillips and Rucker make a great combination, but throw in 6’3″ senior Tyler West, and you have that strong nucleus Nutter’s hoping for. West is a ball of energy who has a passion for the game. He has good skills, is a hard defender and top-notch rebounder. He gives the Knights a third scorer who can hit from the outside but has a knack for getting easy buckets inside.
Coach Nutter said he has 17 players out for the team and will watch each one to see who wants, and has the ability, to play the game. While West seems to have the inside track in the middle, there will be competition from 6’4″ junior Landon Kisner and 6’2″ sophomore Justin Bowman.
Vying for a starting position is senior guard Nick Gorby. The 5’7″ Gorby is a good ballhandler and has a good shooting touch. He got quality playing time last season and should be a good fit this year. Gage Huffman, a 6′ junior, is another returning player who came off the bench under Leach. He has matured greatly since last season, and his strength could be a factor around the boards. He also has a soft touch from the outside.
“Coach Meeks, Coach Wright, and myself are looking forward to the Knights 2018-19 basketball season,” said Coach Nutter.
“We have a great mix of experience and youth in the gym working hard. We have some exceptional athletes and will try to put them in situations to succeed during practice/games. Working daily on our transition offense and conditioning will be key to play the up tempo style we think will fit this group.”
“We will be relaying heavily on our seniors to not only lead us during games but using their skill set to help mold the essential roll players during practice. The first few days have started off with great attitudes and high energy. We will start putting in our offensive/defensive sets after Thanksgiving and are hoping to be really to have it going by Christmas.
It was an exciting fall for Knights fans, and we are looking forward to filling up the gym and keeping the passion going throughout winter. Good luck to all the winter sports teams wearing the Silver and Black,” Coach Nutter said
Zack Placer (6′ junior), Josh Frum (junior) and Garrett Little (junior) will all be trying to get in the lineup. Senior Jason Hudnell, a first-year player, and sophomore James Cline could also provide some relief.
The Silver Knights will travel to River for a scrimmage game on Nov. 27.