Ty Thatcher has already noticed one difference between the boys basketball program he left at Dora and the one he’s taking over this year at Texico — numbers.
Still, he knows there’s work to be done after the Wolverines graduated all five starters from last year.
“We’ve got five or six kids that saw minutes on the varsity last year,” he said Saturday as his team competed in the Eastern New Mexico University team camp at Greyhound Arena. “They’ve stepped up real well.
“I do have the luxury of knowing what we’re capable of and what the expectations area. The numbers are pretty good, especially considering the numbers I was used to at the Class (1A) level.”
Texico is coming off a rare non-winning season (14-14), but if the camp is any indication the Wolverines may be all right. They were 5-0 after winning twice on Saturday, with four more games to go.
Thatcher, who replaced longtime coach Richard Luscombe, said his players’ work ethic is good.
“Every game we try to work on one or two little things,” Thatcher said. “We’re tying to evaluate kids and see how they’re picking things up.
“Richard’s established the things (in the program) that I’m receiving the benefit of right now.”
Thatcher has seen the Wolverines up close and personal for years at Dora, but he’s using the summer camps to get an inside feel for things. Texico has a camp at Artesia next week, then will host one at the end of June to round out the summer.
“We’ve been playing over at Dimmitt, Sudan and Farwell, but we had a little more of a JV/varsity mix,” he said. “This is the first time we’ve gotten to coach the (regular varsity) team and run more true plays.”
Meantime, the Portales Rams are looking to replace 10 seniors from a year ago. Only senior guards Phoenix Russell and David Rodriguez saw significant varsity time in 2010-11, and Rodriguez was away on Saturday playing in a baseball tournament at Socorro.
The Rams were 2-4 through six games of the camp.
“We’re playing a little shorthanded, but that’s OK,” said Mark Gallegos, about to enter his 14th season as the Rams’ coach. “That gives the other kids a chance to show me what they can do.”
A point of emphasis during the summer is the team’s inside game. Gallegos said the Rams should get help from junior Emilio Baca, who missed the 2010-11 campaign with a back injury.
“He’s just kind of getting back to form, which is nice to see,” Gallegos said.
It isn’t unusual for the Rams to have to reload from year to year, Gallegos said, but this time is a little different.
“This is a unique situation,” he said. “I’ve never had a varsity with 10 seniors. Usually you go in (to the summer) looking to fill a few spots, but never like this.”