There will be plenty of familiar faces on this year’s Whaler boys varsity basketball team including head coach Willis Ferreira – who is entering his 31stseason as a varsity basketball coach at Nantucket High School. He is optimistic about his team this year but knows that while they look good on paper it ultimately comes down to how they perform on the court.
“Anytime you get the returning guys that we have coming back its pretty good,” Ferreira said. “These guys have been in the program a long time and are finally seniors. Hopefully the maturity and all those things, you know, they've been through a lot over the course of their four years here. I think they want to go out on top. They've been motivated so far. Their efforts been really good. They say the right things and we practice really hard.”
The Whalers will have plenty of size on their team this year with senior Jack Halik returning as well as sophomores Ethan Jarrett and Oliver Marrero slowly becoming regular contributors in the Whaler rotation - which should be deeper than last year.
"We got a bunch of young pieces that we're going to add to the team. We got three or four sophomores,” Ferreira said. “They will bring a little more size, a little more speed to our team. I think as a whole our team is just bigger, stronger, more mature – our schedule is extremely difficult this season compared to years past so maybe towards the beginning we don’t look too good, but I just hope that over the course of the year and maybe by game 10 we get it going and figuring it out.”
Senior point guard Carlos Aguilar and senior forward Jayquan Francis will also be right in the thick of things once again this year. Ferreira said between these two and Halik, that trio makes up a big three of sorts that could cause opposing teams lots of problems.
“It just comes down to getting all of these guys gelling together,” Ferreira said. “Who’s going to get the ball? Jack and Jay have to touch it and then find the right guys to fill in the creases. But those three are my three leaders to start. We lost Karson, who played hard every second. All three of those core guys I think have grown up to the point where they can stay focused for 32 minutes and won’t let one play dictate how the rest of the day is going to go.”
“Overall, on paper, it looks like we could be very good,” Ferreira said. “Whether it does, we will see. But I told these guys we can’t give up. Every game we play in is going to be tight. We need to play smart, can’t turn the ball over as much this year as we did last year, hit our free throws, and hopefully improve on the boards and get some more offensive rebounds. We need to value the ball more and we need to be better defensively. We haven’t been good recently, and I take blame for that, but we need to be better on defense and be more aggressive.”
The Whalers begin their season on Tuesday, December 12 at home against Bourne at 5 p.m. Bourne was the #4 seed in last year’s Div. 4 state tournament bracket and made it all the way to the state quarterfinal. You can view the full schedule here.