Unlike two years ago, not only is Peery well established as the head coach of the Warriors running that successful up-tempo style, but this year’s IHCC basketball team features plenty of experience among the new faces. Eight players are sophomore transfers with six players having played last season at either four-year Division I programs or other top-tier JUCO schools.
That has made this year’s season of transition, with 12 of 14 players in their initial year within the Indian Hills program, a lot smoother already.
“We needed to go out and find those kids that were of the highest character and know what it means to be a part of the Indian Hills basketball program,” Peery said. “I think this team likes each other a lot. You spend a lot of time getting a team to enjoy each other’s company. I really think I’ve enjoyed this team as much as any team because they’re a team of guys who come ready to work together each day.”
The night concluded with all the Warrior fans in attendance, decked out in white T-shirts, joining Peery and his players on the court for a ‘Warrior Nation’ photo that will be on display at the Hellyer Center this season. Peery did address with those same Warrior fans the way the previous season ended, with a top-five national championship contending IHCC squad banned from postseason play after an NJCAA violation that occurred in the aftermath of an ugly postgame brawl following a double-overtime win at Southeastern.
“That’s so much water under the bridge, it’s not even worth going into,” Peery said. “What I can tell you is it made our coaches and myself that much hungrier to put another great IHCC team together. We went to work on that immediately. I like the team we’ve put together. I think the fans are going to like them too.”
“After what happened last year, we’re all hungry to get back and get what we didn’t get last year,” Deng added. “I’m really happy to be back. I’m ready for the new year to begin.”
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