Taking over a sports program after school has started can be difficult, but for Western Hills' Gary Hubbard the transition has gone pretty well.
Hubbard returns to WHHS as the interim boys basketball coach for this season. He resigned as coach and teacher at Western Hills in 1998 after nine years as the boys basketball coach.
This season he replaces Alan Spade, who left WHHS in August to become a teacher and athletic director at Frankfort High.
"This is a very athletic bunch of kids," Hubbard said. "I'm pleased with their athletic ability. We're way behind right now because I'm new to them, and maybe we're doing some things they haven't done in the past. Then we do some things they've done but they have a different name for it, so I'm learning what they call it."
The Wolverines finished last season at 8-18, but they graduated just one senior - Matt Karsner - and return a solid nucleus of players, headed by their senior class of Jordan Samuels, John Keene, Kyle Bibb and Tyler Toncray. Sophomore Charles Keene started last year, and junior Jonathan Hood saw significant playing time.
"They're working hard," Hubbard said. "We have about 30 kids out - 10 on the varsity, 10 on JV and 10 freshmen. We have a lot of people, and our first goal was to make sure the kids enjoy it, especially the seniors. We want them to enjoy their senior year and have fun, and learn about a lot of things outside of basketball - how to work as a group and be successful."
Samuels is the county's top returning scorer and rebounder this season. He averaged 18.7 points and 10.8 rebounds a game last season, just behind FHS' Chris Current who's now a freshman non-scholarship player at the University of Louisville. John Keene averaged 12.7 points per game.
"We're not executing well at this point," Hubbard said about his team's offense, "but I may be expecting too much from these kids right now."
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