VEEDERSBURG — There’s a new boys basketball coach at Fountain Central,but you can use an old program to get the player’s names as the Mustangs set sail on the hoops season.
Greg Dean, a 1999 South Putnam and 2003 Wabash grad, will be coaching his 15th season of high school ball. He brings a defense-first approach, and has seven players with varsity experience from last season’s 9-13 squad to start with.
“We will hang our hats on our defense,” Dean said, who is teaching English and U.S. History at FC. “If they don’t score, you don’t lose.”
Dean was head coach at his alma mater for six years when Covid hit in the spring of 2020 and he stepped away from coaching.
“I just took my son to school every morning and taught,” he noted, “but I missed it too much. I found myself watching three or four games night online and scouting. I’m just so fortunate here — there is a such good support from the administration, starting with Jason Good (Athletic Director) and Phil Shabi (former coach and now assistant principal). We’ve got some talent here too, and opportunities to do some special things.”
Dean also has the support of a former FC coach, as his dad, Max, was a Mustangs’ coach back in the 70’s and part of a sectional championship team.
That talent starts with four seniors, all of whom saw varsity action last season. Three juniors and six sophomores round out the current varsity roster.
“We are going to have some depth,” Dean said. “We have some length. We have lots of options on our rotations, and we are working hard in practice. We are looking for a team identity. We think we can go inside first with our size and then go back outside for open shots. I like our quickness.”
One of the seniors will be a little late to the party, as Seth Martin injured an elbow early but will be back in a couple weeks.
“He has paid his dues,” Dean said of Martin, “and we are looking forward to getting his leadership on the floor. We were relieved that his elbow wasn’t broken and he will be back in a couple weeks.”
Carter Merryman saw action in 22 games last season and dropped a handful of shots during the scrimmage with Central Catholic last week.
“He’s that guy that could give you a huge game on any given night,” Dean said of the senior. “He’s also a good senior leader.”
Jared McCarthy will draw defensive duties, as the senior operates from a guard spot. “He likes to get after it defensively,” Dean said.
Imanol Barradas recorded three points and three boards per game coming off the bench last season, and will be one of those inside guys Dean talked about.
“He works so hard,” Dean said. “He’s got a nose for the ball, has good hands and knows how to get to the rim.”
Two juniors also bring plenty of experience.
Mason Larkin averaged 10.2 points per outing last season and dropped three treys against the Knights.
“His size (6-10) plus his outside shot (43 percent) will give us options,” Dean said. “We sure hope to take advantage of his size on defense.”
Luke Foxworthy’s 6-3 frame and football size will also be counted on.
“He will be our banger inside,” Dean said of the junior. “He’s that guy that loves to play inside and we will use him there.”
Will Harmon returns after averaging 9.8 points last season.
“He’s good with the ball,” Dean said of the sophomore, second-leading scorer, “but every day is still a learning experience for a sophomore. He will be counted on.”
Another soph, coming off a solid j-v season, is Isaac Gayler.
“He just has a great athletic upside,” Dean said. “He’s a great jumper and came off a good football season. We are looking forward to getting him and all the football guys into basketball mode.”
The Mustangs open the season Monday against Milford (IL) in the Topper Classic in Danville (IL) and will play four more Illinois schools early as the play five games in a six day span. They will host North Montgomery Dec. 4 and start WRC action Dec 10 with Riverton Parke.
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