2018-19 Team Preview: Eastmont Wildcats
SF Tanner Nelson - He's someone defenses will always have to account for. Uses his 6-5 frame well to put up big rebounding totals. Early All League candidate.
SG/SF Isaac Wellborn - Jack of all trades type that will bounce around different parts of the floor. Physical and can drive inside, but also can shoot the three well.
SG Preston Esparza - Multi-year varsity guy that can create his own shots. Extremely accurate when he gets hot. He's currently out with a football injury, but is slated to return in January.
Don't let last years 4-16 record fool you, the 18-19 Eastmont Wildcats are loaded and dangerous.
Eastmont isn't known for their basketball prowess, but that looks like it's about to change.
It's a school that's seeing a culture change not just in basketball, but across all sports as well.
After longtime head coach Mike Waters left the program this off-season, there's going to be a new man in charge.
Coming out of retirement is multi-decade veteran George Juarez. He's coached everywhere from Yakima to the Lower Valley. When the head coaching position opened up at Eastmont, it was an offer he couldn't pass up.
In his quest to get Eastmont Hoops on the map, he'll have a strong nucleus to work with.
A player that he can count on early is going to be junior point guard Oscar Calvillo.
Calvillo brings high IQ and leadership to the table. He'll be counted on for a high level of production every single game.
Joining him in the backcourt is 5-11 junior Trey Haberlock. He'll take an increased role with Esparza out for the beginning part of the season.
The front court combo of Tanner Nelson and Isaac Wellborn are incredibly vital to the success of this team.
If either one finds themselves out for extended time, Eastmont could be in trouble. Both of those guys are going to set the tone on defense.
There's an abundance of talent coming off the bench. All with their own playing styles.
Caelen Massey is a hard nosed, defensive minded forward. He'll bring intensity with the second unit.
A point guard rotating in is going to be Jack Feeney. His job will be to keep the offense running smoothly when his name is called.
Lane Keller is going to be a three point specialist type. He's a guy that's going to give Eastmont points consistently.
With a new coach comes a new playing style.
Traditionally Eastmont has been a team that slows the pace and runs their offense. Juarez sees his group now being faster in transition and rotating in fresh bodies.
It's never a good thing to have zero All leaguer's returning, but just about every player on the roster has varsity experience.
Projection: There's a lot of unknown surrounding the Big Nine season. If there's a team that can take advantage of that however, it's Eastmont. When you're 4-16, there's nowhere to go but up. With top teams like Davis and Sunnyside losing their core, it creates opening slots at the top. Only one team will represent the Big Nine at the state tournament, so Eastmont will need to play every game like their season is on the line. If coach Juarez's team finds their identity early, they can ride that for a postseason run.
Moses Lake 12/15
@ Wenatchee 1/4
@ Davis 2/1
For more Eastside team previews, follow me on Twitter! @micah_chen