Bill Holup doesn’t have a group of seniors to lead the way as his Hun School girls’ basketball team heads into the 2012-13 season but that doesn’t mean that the squad isn’t battle-tested.
“We only have one senior but the junior group is very experienced, they have been with us for three years,” said head coach Holup, who guided the Raiders to a 15-12 record last winter and a spot in the state Prep A title game.
“This is our first team in a few years with some depth. The past few years we have struggled being in shape and going 32 minutes against the good teams.”
The team’s depth is most evident in the backcourt where the Raiders feature two key returners in junior Anajha Burnett and sophomore Erica Dwyer together with a pair of promising newcomers in sophomore Janelle Mullen, the younger sister of graduated star Jackie Mullen, and junior Erica Brown.
“Anajha is a junior who is in her third year with the program,” said Holup, whose team opens regular season play with a game at Pennington on November 30 and then hosts Friends Central on December 4.
“She has grown as a player and has developed; she has gotten stronger. Erica came on strong last year. She had five 3s against Peddie in the MAPL tournament. She is a more well-rounded player. She is distributing more; instead of being a one-dimensional player. Janelle has big shoes to fill with Jackie. She is a raw talent; she has more basketball potential at this point than Jackie. She is a sophomore and will be with us for three years. Erica Brown can play either guard or forward. She has good court vision and ball handling skills. She has a knack for getting the ball inside and can distribute.”
The team’s lone senior, Carey Million, brings versatility to the frontcourt. “Carey is a three-sport athlete and just signed a letter of intent to play softball at Elon,” said Holup, who posted his 250th career win with Hun’s victory over Lawrenceville in the Prep A semis last February.
“That will allow her to not have pressure; hopefully she can use basketball as a stress release.”
Holup will be counting on junior forward Johnnah Johnson to put pressure on Hun’s foes in the paint.
“Johnnah’s leadership skills are developing; she has taken charge out there, getting the girls started with their stretches,” said Holup.
“She needed to grow up a little. Basketball-wise, she is a pure talent. She still needs to understand the game more to really use her talents. She is a legit D-1 basketball player as long as she keeps her focus on the court and in the classroom. She has big shoulders and we will need her to carry the team as the younger players get used to things.”
If the Raiders can develop team unity, the squad could do some big things this winter.
“As long as the girls play as a team and learn and develop during the season, we should be good,” asserted Holup.
“We have a good mixture of youth and experience. The older girls need to trust the younger girls and the younger girls need to get to know the older girls. The talent is there; it is just a matter of meshing.”