With five returning starters the St. John Tigers are returning experience and over 90 percent of their scoring and rebounding from last season's 14-8 team for the 2012-13 schedule.
"One of our strengths this year will be our experience," said head coach Clint Kinnamon. "We have four guys back that were on the 2011-12 All-Central Prairie League, (Kade Kinnamon, Spencer Nusser, Dean Wade, and Zuriel Reyes.) We have five players returning that started games last season."
Between them, the five returning players averaged over 45 points per game and nearly as many rebounds.
Reyes, a 5'10" junior guard had 13 ppg last season with 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals per game hitting 79 percent from the free throw line.
Nusser, one of two seniors on the squad also average 13 ppg. The 6'1 forward pulled in 6 rebounds per game last season with 2 assists and steals.
Sophomore Dean Wade has some skewed numbers from last season missing most of the first half of the season due to injury. The 6'7" forward racked up 9 ppg, 6 rebounds 1.5 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks during his abbreviated playing time last year.
Kinnamon, a 5'11" junior posted 8 ppg, 4 rebounds 4 assists 4 steals and a blocked shot.
The other senior in the returning line up, Ethan Long, stands 6'1" and likes to battle under the basket. Last season he averaged 4 ppg with 4 rebounds 1.5 assists a steal and a block.
"We will have a very athletic team this season," Kinnamon said. "We have several that can really run and jump. And our perimeter shooting is looking good. We had a pretty good team 3 point field goal percentage last year that should be even better this season."
The Tigers are not limited to just returning starters this season. Kinnamon has three returning letter earners from last year in Francisco Calleros, Omar Ramirez and Trey Nelson. Other players to watch will be junior Jesus Alvarez and sophomore Gera Calleros.
"Our guys really worked hard this summer on their skill set and athleticism" Kinnamon said. "Kade and Dean played AAU in July also which help improve them quite a bit.
We have a little more size and strength inside than the past several years, and we should be tougher mentally and physically than last year.
"We have a couple of concerns that have to get shored up for this group to be as good as they can be," said Kinnamon. "They are very unselfish, we have a team of guys that will share the ball."
The Tigers have three state titles in 1974, 1982 and 2007. Under Kinnamon the team has a 179-79 record over the past 11 years. Kinnamon has an overall coaching record of 292-174 with coaching stints at Claflin, Arkansas City and Missouri State University.
Page 2 of 2 - The Tigers will kick off their season at home against Skyline, Friday, Nov. 30. Girl's varsity starts at 6:30 p.m., boys at 8 p.m.