By Bobby Abplanalp
Journal Sports Editor
Replacing a legendary coach is never easy.
Mike Glover took the Mancos High School boys basketball job last year.
The Bluejays made the district playoffs with a core group of 2012 seniors that played for longtime MHS coach Gary Hill.
This season, the Bluejays are a relatively young team. But many of the boys have been playing together since elementary school under coach Glover.
Now those kids are a good group of freshmen and sophomores.
These boys are definitely Glovers Bluejays.
Ive just got a really good group of kids. I really do, he said. The freshmen and sophomore group, Ive worked with them since they were third and fourth graders. Its nice to all be in the same gym again.
Sophomore point guard Nigel Henry is back to run the offense. He showed his explosiveness to score last year. But the coach feels he has matured and can indeed run an offense.
Nigel is a special player. Theres no doubt about it, Glover said. He works harder than anybody I know. I see him shooting all the time. Im looking forward to another season with him.
Senior post Branson Mitchell is back to clean up the glass. He led the team in rebounds last season. Sharpshooting senior Wyatt Cox will look to open things up more offensively. Fellow senior guard Colton Miller will see plenty of minutes. But overall, Mancos is a youthful squad.
We may be young, but basketball IQ wise, I think these kids are there, Glover said.
Junior Kyle Cox should compete for a starting role. Sophomores Jaden Peacock, Brandon Hood and Daniel Christensen, and freshmen Kye Glover and Ro Paschal will be heavy hitters in coach Glovers system.
These kids play well as a team. Its a really unselfish team, Mike Glover said. I think they understand the importance of teamwork. Theyre dedicated, theyre beating down the doors, theyre ready to get in there.
The Bluejays gained a lot of experience over the summer, playing a total of 42 games at various camps.
More unofficial games take place today in New Mexico at Farmington High School.
The regular season officially begins next Friday at Ouray, in what will count as a nonconference game. Both schools were short a game and scheduled each other.
The Bluejays return home to host the Mancos Winter Classic on Dec. 7-8. The four-team tourney also includes New Mexico schools Aztec and Shiprock Northwest, and Dove Creek, who resurrected its boys basketball program.
It should be fun and competitive, said Mike Glover about his home tourney. Im hoping next year, it will turn into an eight-team tournament.
San Juan Basin League play begins Dec. 15, at home versus Nucla. Everyone is aware the road to a league title has gone through Ignacio.
Mike Glover feels his team will contend for a league championship this season.
Expectations are high, he said. This is the year we thought we could really start leaving our mark. The boys are really pumped and theyve worked hard.
Tip off in Ouray is Friday night at 7 p.m.