Parsippany Hills is determined to get stronger

By Mark Kitchin

Morriscountyvarsityboysbasketball

Parsippany Hills 2012 Season Review

All good basketball teams play to their strengths. Parsippany Hills is spending most of its time in the off-season just getting stronger.

The Vikings believe that one of the reasons they suffered through a four-win season last winter was because they simply weren’t physically strong enough as individuals to battle their opponents on a consistent basis.

“We’ve been doing more weight training,’’ Parsippany Hills coach Mark Gibson said. “We had nagging injuries that we suffered during the first half of the season that never went away. It inhibited our ability to do a lot of things.’’

Season Highlights

Gibson recalled one of the Vikings early season victories that showed what his squad was capable of achieving before injuries halted their progress.

“It was week one against West Morris (a 47-44 triumph),’’ Gibson said. “West Morris is a tough place to play. We played a solid four quarters which we had not seen in a full season. Starting the season that way was really good. The kids competed against Morristown and others in close games but we had the same type of problems then with the injuries — this person was out and then that person was out.’’

The Vikings defeated Warren Hills, Morris Catholic and Dover during the season. Jefferson topped Parsippany Hills 60-40 in preliminary round Morris County Tournament play. The Vikings did not qualify for state tournament play. Their most devastating loss was probably against cross-town rivals Parsippany High, 55-46. That alone should keep Parsippany Hills motivated for the upcoming season. 

Mike DiEdwardo (15) is one of the returnees that Parsippany Hills is counting on to step up this year. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

Senior leadership

The two seniors that Parsippany Hills will miss the most are Brian Mulcahy and Steven Fichter. Mulcahy was one of the Vikings most consistent scorers with double-digit efforts in three of his team’s four victories. Fichter was a scrappy and emotional sparkplug.

“Brian was our captain and a featured player,’’ Gibson said. “Steven was a hustle guy who got on the floor and was a tenacious defender. He was our (small forward). He played down low, he was undersized but he worked hard.’’

Future Prospects

Parsippany Hills has a lot of players back with a lot to build on. Manny Dance who has moved from the point to become more of a shooting guard has the athletic ability to lift the Vikings to more victories.

“Manny was one of the kids that didn’t have the strength to battle every game,’’ Gibson said. “Now, he’s stronger. I like him moving off the ball, slashing towards the rim and coming off screens. He is the one player I had that could create his own shot off the dribble. I want to put him in situations like that.’’

Dance will probably be on the receiving end of passes from Kire Milevski but there may be some competition at the point.

“Kire is the strongest handler we have at this point,’’ Gibson said. “Junior Vincent Mondo is a jayvee player. I’m expecting him to primarily handle the ball when need be and to spell Kire. We will see other guys as well. I don’t have a pure point.’’

The front court received plenty of experience last year. The trio of Connor Clark, Mike DiEdwardo and Paul Walek should come back stronger and smarter.

“Mike was our feature last year down low,’’ Gibson said. “He was more comfortable facing the basket. He’s done a lot of work to get stronger and bigger. He’s about 6-3. Now he can play with his back to the basket and he can really elevate.

“Clark is like a Tyson Chandler type player. He is a tremendous communicator. He can clog up the middle. He will rotate and use his speed over there. He will take on a baseline drive and alter a shot, just change it up or block it. I’m expecting him to be that enforcer.

Gibson is also expecting jayvee players Raj Patel and Dheeraj Garg to step up their games. Both have grown quite a bit from last year and seem ready to contend for starting spots on varsity or bring energy off the bench.

“We will see,’’ Gibson said. “I can’t wait for the season to see how well they jell. There’s really no quit in them. If they get down, they are still going to fight till the end. If they get up, they are not going to stop. They have that kind of mentality.’’

Athletic Connor Clark (right) should give Parsippany Hills a boost up front this season. (Photo by Mark Kitchin.)

Off-season plans

The Vikings don’t traditionally go to a team camp. They did enter a team in the Morris Knolls Summer League with mixed results. Gibson is pleased that most of the athletes have stuck to a strength plan that they will continue into the fall if they are not playing sports. If the Parsippany Hills players can become stronger as individuals, it should help them become stronger as a unit.

“Mainly were working more with core strength– from the inside going out,’’ Gibson said. “Strength training, benches, squats but it’s not a football regimen, it’s dealing more with core and balance.   

“Last year every time we had a good week there would be a setback. It was usually an injury. A kid would be out and come back too early, have to come out again. We kind of lost our rhythm. We would get on a pace that we wanted to but then a nagging injury or something would take someone out of the lineup. A kid would have to go back to square one.’’

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About mcvbb

Mark Kitchin is a boys varsity basketball writer for the Morris County New Jersey area

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