Coach says hoopsters brimming with potential
December 01, 2010 - Varsity boys basketball head coach Paul Marfia is looking to take the upcoming basketball season one day at a time.
|Back Row: (from left) TJ Bearse, Ken Coffman, Zach Raisch, Colin Goetz, Max George, Chris Calvin, Tyler Rose, Mike Kitchner, Josh Bell. Front Row: (from left) Mgr. Logan Klimek, Coach Marfia, Ben Magdaleno, Conus Russell, Vince Haliburton, Mark Hazelwood, Coach Fedorinchik, Coach Jeremy Lavalley Kneeling: Joe Toussaint, Josh Smith. (click for larger version)|
Entering his second year as head coach of the Wildcats, he sees the Wildcats wave goodbye to the Flint Metro League, where they finished 7-11, and hello to the Oakland Activities Association.
Marfia says he "cautiously optimistic" about this year's team, which returns seven lettermen.
"(We're) now in the second year in our system and should be considerably more familiar with our philosophy. We still have a ways to go, but the potential is there for this to be an outstanding team," he said.
Oxford will play in the OAA blue division with Rochester, Royal Oak, Hazel Park, Farmington, Lasher, Bloomfield Hills Andover and Birmingham Groves.
Marfia isn't concerned about results. He is concerned about getting better and the team giving it's best each time they take the court. "I feel that if we become result orientated, then we will not reach our potential."
The Wildcats have the potential to be 10 players deep, led by captains Mark Hazelwood and Max George.
Hazelwood, a junior, made the varsity team last year as a sophomore. Marfia praised him for his continuous work on ball handling and shot, adding Hazelwood would "be a big floor leader."
George, a senior, played limited minutes last year as a junior, but his recommitment to playing with intensity helped him become captain this year.
"He is solid offensively, will rebound and alter shots," Marfia said.
Senior Chris Calvin is going to be an important player for the Wildcats, as he will be their post presence and rebounder.
Marfia also looks for seniors Tyler Rose, TJ Bearse, Ken Coffman and Josh Bell to also play important roles for the Wildcats.
He noted juniors Jacques Toussaint and Michael Kitchner, senior Vincent Hailburton, juniors Ben Magdaleno and Collin Goetz have been showing signs in practice that they could contribute when called upon.
"We will try and play up-tempo and let our depth be our advantage, which will lead us to applying full-court pressure at advantageous opportunities," Marfia said.
Even though they might not have a truly dominant player, he believes that as a team they can play with anyone, by applying sound defensive pressure and offensive spacing to open up opportunities for drives to the basket, three point shots and offensive rebounds.
"We feel this season has the potential to take a big step forward in our growth of changing the culture of Oxford basketball," Marfia said.
Before the season began, 73 students were hoping to be part of a select group that gets to put on the gold and blue Oxford basketball uniform. "There were some outstanding young men that we just didn't have the room for on our roster. The competition that was created, we feel will only make this program stronger," Marfia added.
The first home game will be on Monday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. against Okemos High School.
Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.