HARVARD — At the end of his first-year, Bromfield boys basketball head coach Ryan Kilian encouraged his team to play more basketball.
The vast majority of the team heeded the coach’s advice and are ready to make an impact.
“This group of kids has really bought into the program,” he said. “They really took my advice to play over the summer to heart. This group of guys really wants to get better and make that next step.”
Bromfield won just four games in 2014, but Kilian is optimistic that the Trojans can incrementally become better.
“We should be a much improved team from last season,” Kilian said. “We shall see how it translates into wins and losses, but I am excited to see how the kids transition into the up-tempo brand of basketball that we intend to bring.”
Bromfield took its wounds in its first scrimmage against Division 1 sectional champion Concord-Carlisle, but the team did have some flashes of brilliance.
The Concord-Carlisle Patriots play an aggressive in-your-face style of defense and have great size across the board — a tough task for a Mid-Wach D team like Bromfield to stand up to.
“I want to schedule bigger and better teams more often,” the coach said. “Thursday was a great experience for us. Concord-Carlisle was runner-up in states last year. Despite losing a couple kids, they were pretty much the same. We won’t play a better defensive team all year than Concord-Carlisle.”
The Trojans’ offense will be dictated by the play of four-year varsity point guard Jake Frackiewicz, who will serve as the team’s solo captain.
Frackiewicz is a warrior with a nose for the cup with the added skillset of being an excellent passer.
“It’s going to be really tough for me to keep Jake off the court,” Kilian said.
“However, we do have a lot more added depth at the guard position than last year. Jake is so valuable to our team. It was evident in the scrimmage that he has taken the next step to elevate his game. He’s a kid who, if you’re not game-planning for him, you’re making a mistake as a coach.”
Bromfield’s depth at the guard position starts with Mark Schwiegershaussen, who has vastly improved his skills in the off-season.
The Trojans will be without the junior until at least the start of January, due to a concussion he suffered in the Central Mass Division 4 soccer finals against Sutton.
“It’s a loss that really hurts us,” Kilian said. “He really kind of solidifies our back court for us. But it gives another kid a chance to step-up — that’s really what our team is all about this season. There are a lot of kids ready to take the job.”
Six-foot-3 junior forward Tommy Jackovitz is expected to score a lot of points for Bromfield, really honing his game in the off season.
Ben Neville and Ryan Bollman at 6-foot-4 and 6-foot-3, provide the Trojans with some added size down between the blocks.
“Ben and Ryan are both double-double caliber kids,” Kilian said.
“Ben has taken his ability to score around the rim to another level. When Ryan plays aggressive, he is a tough kid to stop. If we can keep those boys confident, I think we really can take advantage of our league.”
Junior Nick Wyman, junior Michael Brockman, sophomore Ross MacMahon and freshman Jackson Harrigan will all be vying for time off the bench. Bringing veteran experience to the second line will be seniors Kevin McCauley, Will Sennott and Adam Siddiqui.
There are a lot of unknowns going into the season, but Kilian feels his men are up for the challenge.
“What I know is that we have 10 guys who trust the process now,” he said. “I think now that the kids trust me and each other. Fans will see a much more cohesive unit.
“Honestly, I know we are young, but we have some core minutes under us,” he said. “I think we will be able to win some of those games where we were on the fence. I won’t set extremely high expectations, but I expect us to be towards the middle of the pack in the league. I think we can really surprise some teams this year.”
Follow Ed Niser on Twitter/Tout: @EdNiser.