The getting-to-know-you, laid-back open gym portion of Aaron Windler’s start as Mountain Pointe’s boys basketball coach has ended.
The initial meeting with the players and parents went well after he was hired in March and it is time to really get to know each other when there is an opposing team to test themselves against.
“I thought it went well,” Windler said. “The meeting with the team was well received and the guys I was hoping to see were there. We have a lot of key pieces to the puzzle that will be coming back and we are excited about our chances to very be competitive next year.”
In order to do so, the summer is going to be very important for the Pride as a good portion of the projected varsity squad are also football players.
It means their time will be split during the summer, and come fall all their attention will be on the gridiron. The time Windler has during summer camps, started last week, and showcase tournaments — they will be in the Best in Basketball Summer Invitational and the Mesa Summer PrimeTime events — is vital.
“It is very important, especially with the number of football players on the team who we won’t have until November or even December,” Windler said. “(Football) coach (Norris) Vaughan and I have been working very well together as we changed a couple of things for each other in order to make important parts of our summer programs.”
Mountain Pointe’s Tre Campbell, Jalen Brown, Kenny Lacy and Emmanuel Butler, among others, play both sports.
“We have already started to get some of our stuff in and with that many football players we need to make sure they have a good base knowledge of our expectations and style,” Windler said.
One player Windler will not have to worry about his time being split is junior guard Khari Holloway.
Holloway, a 6-foot-2 combo guard, had an impressive junior year and it continued last weekend when he played in the Arizona Basketball Coaches Association All-Star Game for juniors.
He led the White squad with 15 points in a 93-89 loss at Mesa Community College.
“Khari is very talented and I have been very impressed with him,” Windler said. “He has a good chance of playing in college and he should have a great senior year.”
Holloway, who averaged 18.2 points, 4.8 assists and 3.9 rebounds last season, is excited about how the transition to the new coach has gone thus far.
“He is a really good coach and he is going to help our program,” Holloway said. “We need some discipline and he is going to bring that to the table.”
Holloway has started to hear from programs like UC Irvine, Northern Arizona, Weber State, Portland State, Washington State, Oregon State and Pepperdine, but right now he is focused on improving the team.
“We are really starting to like his system,” Holloway said. “We’ve all played together for a long time and he is going to make it fun. I think by the time the season comes around we will have it perfected.”
Windler, who credited former coach Brian Fleming with helping out with transition since Windler wasn’t on campus yet as a teacher, is ready to test his new team this summer.
“We are going to get to know each other really well,” he said. “We’ve had open gym, but now is when we can really work things out and set the foundation for next season.”