By Dan Hardenbrook
When the Newberry Indians tip off the 2022-2023 Boys Basketball season this week, there will be a slightly different look on the sidelines. Although there will be new coaches in place, they are familiar faces in the program. Newberry Alum Nate Moulton is taking over for the varsity, replacing Kenn Depew, who decided to step down and focus more on his duties as Athletic Director. As one Depew steps away, another is making his return. Jason “Ace” Depew, a record setting player in his day for the Indians who previously served as JV and Varsity Coach, will be back on the bench leading the JV Indians.
Moulton is ready to take over his hometown team. “I feel very proud, excited, and humbled to have such a great opportunity to take over our boys basketball program. We have had some great coaches come through Newberry, and just feel honored to follow in their footsteps. I am very grateful to our Athletic Director Kenn Depew, Superintendent Stacy Price, and the school board for having faith in me to lead our basketball program to the next level of success on and off the court.”
He may be just stepping into the role after serving under Depew as JV Coach, but Moulton already has high hopes and his own vision for what the program will hopefully become. “Our vision is to be the program by which all others are measured,” says Moulton. “One of my main goals is to not only be the varsity coach, but also be the leader of our entire basketball program. By having a hand in our youth program, and providing the tools necessary to our athletes and coaches from our NYBA program, middle school, JV and Varsity teams, this can help lead us to success and teaching the game the right way, by having an emphasis on fundamentals. If we cannot do the fundamentals well like pass, shoot, footwork, etc., a lot of times it does not matter what offense and defense we run. We need to get those things right first.”
One thing that also helps any program succeed is having strong numbers, and Moulton says that over 20 players are participating this season and the early breakdown is almost even with 10 on the varsity and 11 on the JV. The primary focus early on in practice has been stressing those fundamentals, getting in game shape, and stressing the physical and mental side of the game while also laying the foundation for what the program;s culture will be.
The Indians will certainly face some early challenges this season. From an in-game standpoint, they will have to replace an All UP player who was leaned on heavily to lead the way for the 2nd straight season. After recent seasons that saw Logan Depew and Claudio Bistolfi often lift the team on their shoulders, Moulton is looking for the group to emerge this offseason. “We’re going to have more of a team approach to help replace the production that we have lost. We feel like we have ten guys that can help us contribute in different ways to our success this season. Our guys are pretty athletic at both ends, which we can use to our advantage to push the pace at times when needed.” Moulton also says that the timeline to the start of the season is less than ideal. “One of the biggest challenges early this season was starting a week later than what we normally do. We started the week of Thanksgiving, so we have a lot to prepare for in a short amount of time. That being said, all of the other boys basketball teams are in the same situation, so we won’t use that as an excuse. One of the other challenges I think we run into early in the season is just keeping the practice paced up. With having to teach so many different things early on, it’s important we are still finding time to condition with the basketball in our hand, and making sure to not forget to stress the fundamentals on a daily basis.”
As the team laid out their goals for the upcoming season, the new Coach made it an emphasis to focus on something that every player can succeed at, regardless of talent or skill. “We want to be great at the things that take no talent. So we want to do things like: dive on the floor for loose balls, play off two feet, have good body language, pay attention to what our reaction is when something negative happens, we don’t blame/don’t complain/and don’t make excuses, and have eye contact when we talk to each other. We feel like if we can get to that spot, a lot of our other goals will take care of themselves.”