“They have this feeling that they can beat anybody”
by Than Acuff
With big numbers among the younger players this year, the Crested Butte Titans boys basketball team has as many as 30 players coming out for the team this year. It’s the biggest team they’ve had since Brandin Hamilton has been at the helm.
“The freshmen and sophomore classes are big basketball classes,” says Hamilton.
While numbers like that can make workouts a bit challenging in the gym, Hamilton has seen nothing but positives throughout the first week of pre-season.
“The energy has been fantastic,” says Hamilton. “Because we’re young we’ve taken it slow as far as implementing systems but they’re progressing faster than I planned.”
The team got their first taste of competition last weekend as they took part in a set of pre-season scrimmages in Gunnison. While Hamilton admits their first scrimmage of the day was a bit shaky, once they got their feet underneath them they finished the day with a positive outcome.
“It was good and we were competitive,” says Hamilton. “They loved it and I think it was validating for them.”
Furthermore, after a week of intense workouts and a day of scrimmaging, Hamilton and the players are starting to find out what they have going on.
“We have good team speed, an aggressive mentality both offensively and defensively and are showing the potential for great chemistry,” says Hamilton.
That speed, aggression and chemistry will get tested this year, just like it does every year, as the boys play in one of the most competitive 2A leagues in the state. While that can be daunting for the Titans year-in and year-out, Hamilton has his players adjusting their mindset to focus more on their game and less on their opponent.
“I’m not thinking about the league, I’m more focused on these guys and getting them better,” explains Hamilton.
Hamilton does point out that no matter what happens over time, his players are coming into the season with a head full of confidence.
“They have this feeling that they can beat anybody,” he says.
While the team has three seniors leading the squad in Ethan Bacani, Murphy Smith and Carlos Franco, who is jumping into the basketball fray for the first time this season, Hamilton expects to get some key contributions from some of the younger players as well that could factor into his season-long plan.
“We have a bunch of sophomores who just need time to grow as players,” says Hamilton.
The Titans will open the season December 6-7 when they head to Grand Junction for a tournament. They follow that with games in Ouray on December 13 and then host their first home games of the season in mighty Mt. Olympus on December 20 and 21. They won’t jump into league play until after the holiday break.
“As long as we believe in our progress, I think we can be extremely competitive in the end,” says Hamilton.