It’s a brave new world for the Borgia boys basketball Knights.
Borgia enters the 2012-13 season with a new conference and facing the task of having to replace two key starters and six role players from last season’s 22-6 squad.
Borgia enters the Archdiocesan Athletic Association Large Division this year, the first time the team has played in a conference.
And Dave Neier’s team faces the challenge of replacing two key graduation losses in guard Bryce Dolan and post player Jacob Martin.
“We will have to play as a team,” Neier said. “We will have to have different people step up in different games. Defensively, we’ll have to get after it. Everyone will have to rebound. Everyone will have to block out and do the little things.”
The Knights have three seniors with extensive starting experience.
Casey Kuchem returns to a forward position after averaging 4.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.2 steals per game last season.
Jordan Miller started early in the season at the point guard position and averaged 3.4 points, 1.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.4 steals per game. Miller is the team’s top returning outside shooter, hitting 15 of the 20 three-point baskets among returning players.
John Baumstark started at a guard position at times and averaged 4.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game.
Neier feels all three will be up to the task of trying to take over for the leadership void left by the graduation of Dolan and Martin.
The Knights have one additional senior, forward River Filla. He missed a lot of time early in the season and saw action in 12 games.
“River is 6-4 and he has a little range outside and some inside skills as well,” Neier said.
Two juniors saw action on the varsity team. Joe Helfrich played in 16 games while Adam Meyer came up during the postseason and played in two contests.
Juniors moving up from last year’s junior varsity team are Zach Schweissguth, Kevin Birk, Tyler Breckenkamp, Parker DuMontier and Collin Mantle.
Borgia also kept one sophomore, guard Alex Moss.
The Knights open the season in the 60th Annual St. Francis Borgia Pepsi Cola Thanksgiving Tournament against a Carnahan side which feels it could be a state contender if things go right.
“Carnahan is a very talented team,” Neier said.
Neier’s coaching staff of Bill Kimminau and Stan Westhoff returns. Kimminau handles the JV team and works with the offense. Westhoff is the freshman team coach.
Two more coaches have been added as well. Luke Meyer, the program’s all-time leading scorer, returns after a career at Saint Louis University and three years as a pro in Australia. Eric Kimminau, who played on Borgia’s 2008 state championship team, also will be helping this season.
“Eric and Luke will add intensity at practice and hopefully pass their knowledge onto the players,” Neier said. “They add to the program. Bill and Stan are mainstays. Bill does such a great job putting in plays. I hope he’ll stay forever. Stan does a great job with the freshman crew.”
Neier is close to a coaching milestone as well, needing just two victories to reach 600 for his career.
But, in typical fashion, Neier does not feel that’s as important as team goals and making the players better.
“I would rather skip over it,” Neier said.