The Hudson boys basketball team graduated six talented seniors from last year’s squad and saw injuries takeout two more during the fall. That leaves just two players with any significant varsity experience as they prepare for Sunday night’s season opener at the Curry Hicks Cage in Amherst. Still, head coach Chad Softic knows there is no sympathy for his team.
“No one is going to feel sorry for us and nor should they,” said Softic. “I got some kids who can play and I like this team. They want to do well. It’s just a matter of working through the inexperience.”
Leading the Senators will be senior Nick Slattery. One of the premier players in all of Columbia County, Slattery will see time at all five spots on the floor, both offensively and defensive, and will essentially be a second coach. He blends a sharp-shooting skill set with great court vision and an ability to get to the rim. His length makes him a strong defender and his leaping ability makes one of the teams top rebounders. Essentially, he’s going to have to do it all for the Senators this winter.
“It’s his responsibility to be a leader and clean up some of the mess,” said Softic. “He has to help these young kids work through adversity and he’s going to take those responsibilities on his shoulders.”
The only other returner is junior forward Austin Leary. Leary has the potential to become a very good player this winter.
“As long as Austin doesn’t get in his own way, he can be a really nice player for us,” said Softic. “He has a lot of talent. He can play in the post, step outside and handle the ball. He has the opportunity to be a very good basketball player.”
The Senators will also bank on sophomore forward Bryce Cleveland to make the leap from junior varsity. The son of a coach, Cleveland has the chops to handle the jump.
“Bryce is one of the smartest kids I’ve had come through,” said Softic. “He has a great feel for the game and we’re excited about his progress. He can really pass out of the high post and he’s going to score a little bit. We just need to keep him on the floor because we don’t have a lot of depth right now.”
That depth is being tested with injuries to Malik Adams, Drew Patria and Hunter Richardson. Adams, a two-year starter at point guard, will miss his junior year after having surgery to repair a torn ACL. Patria is expected back at some point as he heals from a knee injury and Richardson will return soon from an ankle injury.