The Monticello Buckaroos boys varsity team is sporting a fresh coach with a recognizable face as well.
Rhett Maughan moves into the head coaching job after it was vacated by Jason Torgerson, who is assisting San Juan this year. Maughan began his coaching career with former Buckaroo head coach, Mark Hugentobler, now the coach at Manti, in 1994, the year the Bucks won their only state championship in basketball. Maughan coached the freshman team for four years under Hugentobler and then one year for Tony Esplin. He then moved over to coach the girls varsity for five years. Last year he assisted Torgerson with the boys.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your team this year.
A: My team works very hard and wants to work. We have worked them hard and never once have we had one kid complain. They have a lot of determination and love to play basketball.
We are still young with only two seniors, 7 juniors, 5 sophomores, and 7 freshmen. Attitude and character have been a problem in the past and that will be our focus this year. They like to run and gun and most of the time that is good but they have a hard time with patience.
They are extremely competitive. They are very hard on themselves and when they make a mistake have a tendency to be too hard on themselves and start to get mad at themselves. Our goal is to have them always keep their heads up and to continue to work harder when they make mistakes.
Q: What experience do you have returning?
A: We lost two seniors last year and most of these kids had to play mostly varsity as sophomores and juniors. So we are young but most these kids have had varsity experience.
Q: What will be your team strength this year?
A: Strengths will be speed and quickness, determination, depth, and balance. They have played a lot of ball together and if I can get them to play together as a team they can be amazing. The key is to get them to all come together and have them figure out that “We” is greater than “I”.
The JV will be young with a inexperienced sophomore class (only 2 out of 5 played last year) and a great freshman class which only lost one game last year.
Q: Who will be your go-to players?
A: I really don’t have a go-to player. We will have to rely on a team with a good balance of scoring.
Q: Who are your top defensive and offensive players?
A: Like I said, they work amazingly well as a team and should be well balanced. Teams will not be able to just stop one player but will have to play good team defense with all players. Daniel Torres has been our top offensive player but his injured foot has slowed him down but still works hard. Joe Weatherford works hard on defense and will be tough to play against but will have to play the big man at only six feet tall.
Q: Who is ready to have a break-out, surprise everyone season?
A: I would say Dalton Rogers. He is big, strong, with amazing ability, but sometimes too passive and if we can build a fire under him he could be unstoppable.
Q: What kind of basketball will you play?
A: Try to play intense defense and a running type of offense.
Q: Best case scenario, how do you see this team doing?
A: I feel that if the team will come together and work as a team they can play high in state. We have one of the best teams in 1A in our region in Whitehorse and will have to play well to beat them in region play.
Q: What is a best method you use in practice and in games to build the team concept in basketball?
A: In practice we are trying to teach fundamentals and we do not move on till they grasp that concept and because of that I feel we are not real ready for play to start. But we believe you play the way you practice and therefore we have intense practices.
Q: Who are your assistant coaches?
A: Gary Torres assistant varsity, Blen Freestone post coach, and Josh Keyes JV coach.
Q: What are some must-see games this season?
A: Whitehorse (Feb 7) and San Juan (Dec 14 in Monticello, Dec 21 in Blanding).