Brunswick School is traditionally one of the toughest basketball teams to contend with in the FAA, especially come playoff time. Possessing a squad with size and experience, first-year coach Steve Juricek hopes that trend continues.
Juricek takes over at the helm for Robert Taylor, who spent the past six seasons as the Bruins’ coach. Brunswick was edged by Masters School, 51-50, in the last season’s FAA Tournament quarterfinals and advanced to the semifinals during the 2015-16 season.
“I love it here. Everybody has been warm and accepting of me, from other coaches, to players, teachers and trainers,” said Juricek, who previously coached on the AAU circuit for 12 years. “Our players are responding well in practice and I’m really excited about our team’s potential.”
The Bruins, who visited Millbrook School on Wednesday and opened its season with a loss against Taft School, have eight players on its roster listed at 6-foot-3 or taller. Senior co-captain Jack Molloy is one. The 6-5 Molloy, an effective shooter from the perimeter captains the team along with senior 5-11 point guard Muna Nwana — one of the Bruins’ top scorers from last season.
“Our captains have been progressing very well as well as the rest of the team,” Juricek said. “Everyone is hustling on both ends of the floor and grasping the concepts we are instilling in them.”
AT THE HELM: Joining Juricek’s staff as assistant coaches are Zach Dobbs and Shawn Harris. Dobbs, a 2006 Brunswick graduate, played basketball for the Bruins when his father, Greg, coached the team. Harris served as an assistant under Taylor for several seasons.
WHO’S GONE?: Guards Cameron Kelly, Will Marvin and Charlie Sealy, all of whom served as captains, graduated. The trio helped power the Bruins offensively. Also among some of the graduating players were 6-6 center Peter Wise and guard Angus Binnie.
WHO’S BACK?: Nwana brings a steady, consistent presence at point guard, while Molloy should help solidify the backcourt. Khari Wilson, a 6-5 sophomore forward, was the team’s leading scorer in its season-opener against Taft and should be one of the squad’s go-to players. Senior Graham Pierce (6-4) provides rebounding and tough defense at the forward position. Also returning are juniors Kevonne Wilder and Cedric LaFleur, both of whom provide backcourt depth.
NEWCOMERS: Senior Harrison Caponiti (6-4), who starred on the football field for Brunswick, starts his first season on the varsity squad. He will relied upon to help the Bruins with rebounding and should provide strong low-post defense. Senior guard Brennan Troy (6-1) is also among some of the first-year players.
STRENGTHS: “On any given night, someone can score 20 points,” Juricek said. “Our scoring is so spread out and we have so many unselfish players. Everyone is sharing the ball.”
Juricek has the Bruins playing man-to-man defense, emphasizing a lot of pressure.
COACH’S COMMENT: “We realize we have a lot of challenges, but we look forward to those challenges and we’re ready to play the best competition our there,” Juricek said. “I expect us to learn and get better and grow as a team. Every single day we leave the gym I expect us to be better than when we walked in.”