Roxbury basketball preview: Rockets look to continue success from 2007-08 season

By Julia Green
After a strong run in the 2007-08 season that included division and league titles and a trip to the state tournament, the Roxbury Rockets boys’ varsity basketball team is looking to build on the foundation that it laid last year. The team started practices last Monday.
“I’m optimistic,” said Head Coach Tom Faraci, who has been at the Rockets’ helm for 13 years. “I think our guys are working hard, I think we understand what we need to try to accomplish in order to be competitive. I think we’re going to have a good year. We’ve got a great group of kids, and they mesh pretty well.”
The Rockets return two of last year’s starting five, including senior Ryan Skipper and junior Devaun Morgan, to whom Faraci will be looking for leadership in terms of overall play and what they bring to the floor. The squad has four seniors, including Skipper, Tim Douglas, Matt Cammer and newcomer Owen Sanford, who Faraci said will be a guard.
“Timmy and Matt are seniors and we’re definitely going to be looking for them to help out inside and on the boards,” Faraci said. “They fit that mold of post player or interior player.”
There’s also some new blood being injected into the program in the form of four players from the JV ranks. Faraci said Garrett Hall, who moved up from JV last year, will be seeing some time this season that he didn’t see last year.
“Garrett played some last year, and got his feet wet,” he said. “We’ll be looking at David Clark, a JV player coming up, he’s a guard. He and Garrett will be out there as guards; their ability to fit into what we’re hoping to do is going to be crucial. We’ve got Earl Thomas and Andrew Merwin who are kind of in-bewteen as well.”
In terms of the Rockets’ style of play for the upcoming season, Faraci says it’s all about high pressure.
“We like up-tempo, and we love to press,” he said. “That would be ideal for us. We like to get up and down the floor and we like to pressure. But if you have personnel to fit that system is another thing, and that’s what we’re looking at this year: how much of that we can do.” Faraci added that the speed necessary for that style of play is one of the strengths he believes his squad already possesses.
“We’re going to be fairly quick and be able to get up and down the floor pretty well,” he said. “That’s something we were able to do last year, and that’s definitely going to be one of our strengths.”
He identified the Rockets’ shooting game as a potential weakness, and said that finding shooters will be a focus in the near future.
“We lost some pretty good shooters, so our perimeter game is going to be something that we’ll have to focus on early,” he said. “But right now we’re talking to these guys and saying that if they play hard enough and work hard enough right now to give us the ability to say that we have the chance to be competitive in most games, not looking at a particular record or event but just trying to give ourselves the chance to be competitive out there, I think in terms of the league, that’s a pretty lofty goal because there are going to be some teams out there where we’ll have to play hard and work hard to be able to accomplish that,” he said.
The Roxbury Rockets open the season with a home scrimmage against the Margaretville Blue Devils on Thursday, Nov. 20 at 6 p.m.