WELCOME back to a new episode of COURTSIDE with Joe Morelli, your weekly spot for Connecticut boys basketball talk with our longtime beat reporter Joe Morelli.
It’s only been a few days since our last episode with the Sports Doctor, Keith O’Brien of Game Day, but with the new year finally in full swing, we’re back to our usual Tuesday spot.
Joining Joe on this week’s podcast is Weaver’s coach Reggie Hatchett, who’s taken the Beavers to three state championship games in his five-year tenure as head coach, winning it all in 2015.
On the pod, Hatchett talks about his team and the unique and often difficult situation his program finds itself in. The Beavers haven’t had an actual school or league to call home for several years.
Hartford is renovating the old Weaver High School with a target opening of Fall, 2019. Hatchett said attendance has fallen from about 1,800, when Hatchett graduated in 1997, to under 300 at its temporary location at the Journalism and Media Academy in Hartford.
Hatchett says his roster is comprised of kids who attend a variety of Hartford magnet schools. Without a home court, they’ve been forced to play their entire season on the road. (Their six ‘home’ games have been played at Classical Magnet).
In the meantime, Weaver was jettisoned from the Central Connecticut Conference due to a lack of athletic programs and has had to play as an independent for the last two seasons.
In many ways, the Weaver basketball teams are the only thing keeping the school alive.
“That’s the message that we give to the basketball team, that they have a huge responsibility,” Hatchett said. “The community support has dwindled down, drastically, for the school in itself. So the basketball team is the glimmer of hope in bridging this gap.
“When this school opens back up — and I’m optimistic we’ll be able to return to where we were — it’ll be very much because the basketball team was able to hold things together for this three-or-four-year period where things were really dark.
“I do believe if the basketball team wasn’t doing as well, it would be highly likely that the school would have gone away. That’s a strong possibility.”
Listen to the full interview in the audio player, above. Remember, if the embed doesn’t show, you can always listen by clicking here.
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- 0:00-8:56 – Quick Top 10 Poll rundown
- 7:15-24:58 – Weaver coach Reggie Hatchett
- 35:31-End – Wrapping up.
Correction: After the podcast, Hatchett said he was mistaken in saying his team beat Windsor three times during its 2016 Class LL runner-up season. That was actually during his 2015 state championship season. Windsor beat Weaver twice in 2016.