Bulldogs hope to continue tradition
Over the years, it's always been about tradition when it comes to the Northern Lehigh boys' basketball team.
If it's up to Jeff Miller, the first-year Bulldogs' head coach will like to do his best to keep it that way this year.
"It's about tradition here and I'm ecstatic about the opportunity of keeping it alive," Miller said. "It's a great program, great tradition and great kids."
As a volunteer assistant last year, Miller watched the Bulldogs post a 19-6 overall record and capture its third Colonial League title in four years in his second year with the program.
Now, in his first year at the helm, Miller has no other choice then to state the obvious about carrying out that winning tradition.
"I think any year at Northern Lehigh we want to certainly compete for the Colonial League championship," Miller said, "as well as qualify for districts and make a run in districts.
"I think we can do that. I think that's something we can do every year."
Miller may have his hands full at first though.
The Bulldogs take a major hit in its starting lineup thanks to graduation. Point guard Bobby Hahn (8.53 ppg), front court work horses Nick Pappas (12.53 ppg) and Evan Biegley (11.65 ppg), as well as who Miller called "Mr. Do Everything" Joe Seremula have all graduated.
The lone returning starter from last year's defending league champions is senior Jordan Waylen, who was third in TIMES NEWS individual scoring last season, averaging 16.12 points per game.
While Miller stated Hahn was the "heart and soul" of the program a year ago, the head coach is looking to Waylen to be the foundation to build upon in somewhat of "a youth movement" this year.
"We're building around Jordan," Miller said. "We have some nice pieces, but we're definitely young. You never know how they're going to react coming into the varsity playing under the bright lights.
"Some of them our big people like sophomores Lucas Pierce and Caleb Johnson played some varsity minutes last year. Some important varsity minutes, so we're hoping they'll step in and not skip a beat."
With depth and inexperience (four juniors, six sophomores, and three freshmen) definitely a concern, Miller believes his team's strength will be a key to the Bulldogs' success this season.
"I think we're going to be very team-oriented," Miller said. "I think we're looking at some multiple guys scoring 10-12 points rather than somebody going out and scoring 30. We want to have three or four guys averaging 12-15 points and I think we can do that. I think we can be a balanced team this year.
"This group of kids has worked hard and I couldn't have asked for anything more. I pushed them and they responded. They come to practice every day ready to work."