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Posted On: 10/27/18 1:00 PM
Turtle Mountain was one of the youngest teams in the WDA last season and the Braves took their lumps because of it. With many of those rotation guys back and a year older, they should be in line for a much more competitive season in theory.
Must be Replaced: Taven Azure
Azure was the lone starting senior but he played a big part, averaging 13.9 points per game in 13 games while knocking down 33 percent of his 3-pointers. His perimeter shooting will be missed by a team that lacks a lot of consistent scoring.
Key Returners: Julian Parisien, Darrick Frederick, Anthony Keplin, Isaiah Samuelson
Parisien is one of the best offensive players in the state and was terrific as a junior, averaging 23.9 points per game with very good efficiency. He’s a strong outside shooter, gets to the line more than six times per game and led the team in rebounding and assists. He’s going to receive a lot of attention from opposing defenses and he’s good enough to continue producing. He’ll need to keep delivering big numbers if the Braves are going to take a step forward. Frederick and Keplin were solid complementary guys last year and would seem like logical next-in-line guys to pick up the scoring slack. With the attention dedicated to Parisien, there should be opportunity to provide offense. Samuelson averaged 5.9 points per game and tied for the team lead in assists. If he can take a step forward as a floor general, things could open up even further for the other scoring options on the floor.
Stepping Into Bigger Roles: Craig Bruce, Grand Birkland, Keisen Peltier
Three sophomores that saw big minutes last season, all three guys should assume bigger roles this winter. Birkland will be asked to provide perimeter shooting after knocking down 33 percent of his triples last season. Bruce may not score a whole lot but he’ll be asked to provide solid minutes on the wing. Peltier is another long range shooter who could see an uptick in production if teams tilt their defenses toward Parisien.
The Braves won just six games last year and certainly took a beating on their share of nights. With a team relying on a lot of underclassmen, the defense was predictably substandard. That attrition should prove beneficial this season as many of those key guys are now entering upperclass years. The offense should hum if for no other reason than Parisien but if some of those other guys can fill in the gaps on that side and everyone can take a sizable step forward on the defensive end, this could be a much better team than people expect.