Argos boys basketball preview: Breden takes over at Argos, inherits veteran roster
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Nobody on the Argos boys basketball roster has ever experienced anything longer than a two-game losing streak.
Nobody on the Argos roster had ever known a coach other than Gordon Mosson before either.
Mosson retired last spring, and former LaVille player and assistant coach Jason Breden was hired to replace him.
Breden inherits a team that went 18-6 last season, but their run of two straight sectional titles ended with a loss to Triton in the Class 1A, Sectional 50 final.
Still, the top five scorers – in order, they are J.J. Morris, Michael Richard, Dylan Kindig, Jake Stults and Teddy Redinger – are back. More than 95 percent of last year’s scoring is back.
“They’re a competitive group,” Breden said of his new players. “I’d have to say that. Whether it’s soccer or basketball, they’re competitive. In practice, they’ll get after each other because they want to win. So I think it just shows that they’re committed to winning. They don’t take losing lightly. I mean, losing is a serious deal for them. And I think that just shows they’re a group that has the mental toughness and sharpness to where when maybe things aren’t going as planned, they’ll just find a way to power through and find a way to win the next one.”
The team has six seniors. That includes the backcourt duo of Richard and Stults, combo forward Redinger, center Kindig, backup guard-forward Kayden Brady and 6-2 forward Ben Rangel.
Kindig, who is listed at 6-5, is a back-to-the-basket scorer that Breden was not accustomed to coaching at LaVille.
“Dylan Kindig in my opinion is a lost-art-form player,” Breden said. “Forty years ago, I think he fits in 100 percent at Indiana basketball. There’s no 3-point shot. It was pound the ball inside, and if you shoot outside, it was maybe 17 feet at most. … Very few players nowadays possess the skill set that he does. So we’re going to look to post him up a lot like he did previously. We’ll look to post him in our base offense. He does have a decently nice touch from the outside. Now we’re not going to cut him off screens or anything, but I’m confident in his outside shooting too.”
Listed at 6-6, Morris is the team’s tallest player and capable of scoring in the post while also being able to handle the ball and score from the perimeter.
“Definitely more versatile than the typical 6-6 player on the high school level,” Breden said. “A LaVille player that I coached was named Rilye Cox. He reminds me a little bit of Rilye Cox in how we’re going to use him. At times, he’s going to be a point forward where he’s going to bring the ball up for us and look to attack some. We’re going to run him off screens. We’re going to look for him to hit 3s. And then we’re still going to mix him inside because on the high school level, if you have a kid that’s 6-6, you’ve still got to post him up and work his all-around game. So he’s another one where I just think he’s a well-balanced scorer, and he might look to attack the defense wherever he thinks it’s best open for him.”
Morris is one of three juniors on the team. Nate Manikowski and A.J. Mills are the other two.
Sean Richard, a 6-1 forward, is Michael Richard’s younger brother and the team’s lone sophomore.
Luke Stults, who is Jake Stults’ younger brother, will provide size at 6-4, and he is the lone freshman on the varsity.
Argos has not allowed more than 41.5 points per game over the last four seasons. Breden said the Dragons will play what he called a “modified” man-to-man defense this year.
While the LaVille program from which Breden hails is known for its switching man-to-man, Argos will switch only on some screens but will stay on others.
Breden said that defensive average might go up this year because Argos might play at a faster tempo, but he still expects an efficient defense on a possession-by-possession basis. He said Argos might pressure the ball more and try and step in passing lanes this year.
“I think they definitely take pride in the defense,” Breden said. “But one thing I will mention is sometimes your offensive pace does affect defense too. They definitely take pride in defense, but we’re going to look to be a little bit more of a fast-paced offensive team this year, so naturally, when you have more possessions in a basketball game, it might lead to on paper more points being scored, but I think we’re sharp enough mentally to see the game well enough overall to where even if that defensive average goes up a little bit, if we’re playing games with 10 to 20 more possessions per game, that is to be expected. More points are going to be scored at both ends, offensively and defensively.”
Argos Dragons schedule
Nov. 24 – at Bremen, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 30 – vs. Tippecanoe Valley, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 3 – at Plymouth, 8 p.m.
Dec. 7 – vs. LaVille, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 11 – vs. Jimtown, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 17 – vs. South Bend Career Academy, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 18 – vs. Pioneer, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 4 – at Trinity Greenlawn, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 7 – at Bethany Christian, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 11 – at North Miami, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 14 – vs. Oregon-Davis, 7:45 p.m.
Jan. 18-22 – Bi-County Tournament (field includes Culver, Bremen, John Glenn, LaVille, New Prairie, Oregon-Davis, Triton)
Jan. 25 – at Lakeland Christian, 8 p.m.
Jan. 28 – at Westville, 8 p.m.
Feb. 3 – at Triton, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 5 – vs. Peru, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 8 – vs. Caston, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 10 – vs. Culver, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 15 – vs. South Central (Union Mills), 8 p.m.
Feb. 18 – at North Judson, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 25 – at Elkhart Christian, 7:30 p.m.
March 1-5 – Class 1A, Sectional 50 at Triton