Tonawanda News

December 11, 2013

New look Bulldogs ready for new season

Kenmore East has tallest team in recent memory with addition of two transfers

By Matt Parrino
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — When Aaron Tucker walked into Jay Robbins' office for the first time in September after transferring to Kenmore East from Detroit, Mich., the Bulldogs head coach conducted a sort of interview with his new potential player.

Robbins asked Tucker if he could play, and if so what kind of player was he and what position.

Tucker told Robbins that he thinks of himself as a point guard who likes to get his teammates involved first, but he can also play shooting guard. He said his shot isn't the best and he's more of a penetrator and ball handler.

A somewhat skeptical Robbins, trying to hold back excitement considering he still hadn't even seen Tucker so much as dribble a basketball, told him, "Well, you might just fit in because everything you just described is exactly what we need."

Then Robbins watched Tucker play for the first time in the team's first scrimmage.

"He was all business," he said. "He can distribute, he can drive to the basket and that just frees up (Adam) Geib, because Geib is pretty good, and now Geib can play the two, and those two have already developed a nice little connection."

The Kenmore East basketball team is out to a 1-2 start this season, and after a difficult season in 2012-13 things are looking up for the Bulldogs this year.

"We go from one of the smallest teams you've ever seen to a pretty big team. That's how high school is, it changes every year," Robbins said.

Tucker, only a sophomore, will play point guard at 6-foot-2, and should be the driving force of the program as he continues to develop. Geib is in at shooting guard, much improved after coming off Robbins' bench a year ago. Then seniors Aaron Cannon (6-foot), Ryan Flynn (6-foot-4) and junior Andy Fields (6-foot-3) will make up the Bulldogs front court.

When Robbins turns to his bench he'll find 6-foot-4 all-around athlete Mike DeBenedetti, 6-foot-4 Trent Cowan, a transfer from Southern California, and junior Jack Stelianou.

"We look like a real basketball team," Robbins said. "And nothing against the kids that have played the last couple years, but the supporting cast just hasn't been there. This is legit. I don't think there's anybody on this team that can't play."

Robbins likes the flexibility he has this year with so many options when it comes to his rotation. At any given time he can go big or go small, depending on the opponent.

Flynn figures to be a factor on both ends of the court with his size in the middle. The senior captain didn't log a ton of minutes last season but the varsity experience has him excited for this year.

"The main difference is our height. We've never been this big before," he said. "The expectations are pretty high, and coach has told us how much he expects from us. So we have to go out there and work hard every day and try to live up to the expectations."

See coverage on the Bulldogs' third game of the season and Niagara Frontier League opener against Lew-Port on Tuesday night.

Follow @tonanewssports and sports editor @MattParrino on Twitter for complete high school sports coverage.