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Posted On: 12/7/18 10:05 PM
Greg Pruitt put Heart River basketball on the Region 7 map. He was at the school for 10 years and constantly pushed his team into the top four. But this year Pruitt is at Glen Ullin-Hebron and hoping to build one of scariest teams in the region.
Pruitt said Glen Ullin-Hebron was a scary team to face last year. His Heart River team struggled with Glen Ullin-Hebron and had a great three-game saga last year.
“They were a team last year that was in every game. They beat us early in the season in Heart River, then we came back and beat them in double overtime in the regular season. We made some adjustments and got them going into that play-in game,” Pruitt said.
“But anytime you can get a team like that, that’s in all of their games and returning all their players — you have to watch out. They are going to be a dangerous team and I’m excited about it .”
Pruitt said Glen Ullin-Hebron’s biggest team strength is their overall athleticism. They are going to be faster than most teams they face this year.
“That Bearcat program is one of the scariest programs that I have prepped for in my ten years of being at Heart River. They have always had numerous athletes. Not just basketball players, but athletes,” Pruitt said
“We had 3 or 4 kids just going up and dunking it. I can’t remember anyone in our program that could do that besides Jordan Strecker. One of those kids was Braden Zuroff. He just made it look so easy. “
Pruitt said Zuroff who is a senior and led the team in scoring last year is one of the best athletes in the region (15.9 ppg, 9.5 rpg).
“One kid that you have to throw in there is Braden Zuroff. The Zuroff kid is just a freakish athlete,” Pruitt said.
Glen Ullin-Hebron has a lot of talented returners besides Zuroff. They didn’t graduate any seniors last year, which is a big reason why Pruitt gained interest in the opening. Glen Ullin-Hebron returns all of their rotation players from last year. Zuroff is back along with Garrett Soupir (8 ppg), Mason Gerving (11 ppg, 6 rpg), Braxton Rolle (6ppg), and Chase Remboldt (6ppg).
“Knowing those kids last year and all of them being juniors. It was an easy decision after leaving Heart River and the doors opened. I just thought about the personnel that they had with Zuroff, Soupir, Gerving, Rolle and Remboldt kid,” Pruitt said.
“Then they had two unbelievable sophomores in Grant Gerving and Dawson Zuroff. To me, that just seemed like a great fit.”
Grant Gerving is a strong shooter and Dawson Zuroff is a talented athlete who will be a strong player for Glen Ullin-Hebron this year.
Pruitt is one of the best coaches in the region at drilling fundamentals into his players. His post players have good footwork and his guards rarely travel. He takes pride in making sure his teams are fundamentally sound.
Glen Ullin-Hebron hasn’t honed in on the overlooked fundamentals of the game. Pruitt said he’s been drilling his squad hard on pivots, rip-throughs and jump stops with the results improving each day.
“I came in the first day of practice and we blew the whistle. We got them on the line and worked on that for about 25 minutes — jump stop, rip through, front pivot, reverse pivot, left foot pivot, right foot pivot. These kids looked at us ‘like what is this about?’ Teaching the fundamentals and basics is something that I firmly believe in.”
Pruitt said the kids showed the needed desire and hunger to improve and get better. They had a rough first day of fundamentals but kept working at it on Day 2.
“The first day of practice I’m not going to lie, it was ugly. The second day of practice I had goosebumps because these kids bought in and they were ripping through. They were understanding the purpose of the pivot and when to use the pivot,” Pruitt said.
Overall, Pruitt said the fundamental work has taken precedence in the early season. He said the team’s biggest focus in practice right now is learning fundamental skills. Pruitt thinks the team will get to his fundamental standard quickly because of their athleticism.
“When you have athletes and kids that buy in, it doesn’t take a whole lot of time to polish up those fundamentals and that’s what I’m really focusing on here before the Roughrider.”
Don’t expect Pruitt to change his coaching style. He said he’ll still want to push the pace and press opponents. Glen Ullin-Hebron will have a lot of team speed this year and plan to use it. If they can utilize their speed in transition they will be dangerous.
“I think our transition game will be one of the fastest in the region. We just have to be disciplined with the ball and make some smart choices. But those guys can get out and run the floor hard,” Pruit said.
“We have to be disciplined, we can’t be sloppy. We have to make sure we understand what we want to do in our transition and our defense. All I’m really focused on is trying to bring my style to Bearcat Country. Hopefully, those kids enjoy it and get after it.”