Vikings look to mix promising freshmen with returning experience

By Brad Morris

ASHVILLE — With more freshmen (four) on his roster than seniors (three), Teays Valley coach Brian Barnett’s task this season will be to fuse a promising but inexperienced incoming class with his returning players.

“It’s going to be a different team than what we’ve played in past seasons, but we really believe in this freshmen class and the potential that they have,” Barnett said. “I’ve been very pleased with how our older kids are leading and working together with the freshmen to help them with their adjustment to varsity basketball.

“We had a really good summer together and that has continued into the preseason. We have a great team dynamic with our kids bonding and enjoying being around each other. This is a team you enjoy coming to practice with every day because of that.”

Six-foot-four junior forward Sam Miller is the leading returner from a season ago after averaging 10.1 points and 5.3 rebounds.

“We’re going to depend on Sam to control the paint area, to score and rebound around the basket and to be one of our leaders, both on and off the floor,” Barnett said. “He is going to be one of the anchors on our team who will keep us hopefully going in the right direction. I think Sam is going to have a big year.”

Teays Valley’s Sam Miller averaged 10.1 points and 5.3 rebounds last season.

Barnett will also lean on his senior class that includes 6-5 forward Brayden Primmer, 6-3 wing Ivan Smith and 5-7 guard Ryan Allton.

“Brayden had a terrific summer and has added a little bit more strength and speed to his game,” Barnett said. “He is going to bring versatility to our offense by getting the ball to the basket and he has also improved on his mid-range game. Brayden’s quicker step is also going to help defensively and being active with his hands to hopefully get a few deflections and steals.

“Ryan is a defensive stopper with quick hands who is going to cause opponents fits on the offensive end. He can also get to the basket some and handle the basketball a little bit after a summer of hard work. Ivan has also worked hard to develop his game and we are going to rely on him to help guard some of the bigger post players that we will face this season.”

Barnett expects two of his freshmen players to start in 5-11 guard Kole Nungester and 6-1 guard Brody Fields.

“Kole has a very good basketball IQ and he doesn’t let things rattle him, which is important for someone who will help us run the point,” Barnett said. “Kole is very solid defensively, he’s a good passer on offense and can also get to the basket and shoot the ball. We’re going to utilize Kole in different ways this winter.

“Brody has the potential to be one of the best shooters to come through Teays Valley in a long time. He has the ability to get to the basket, to knock down shots and defenses are going to have to work at trying to contain him. When you look at our offense, a lot of it is going to run through Sam Miller, Brayden Primmer, Kole Nungester and Brody Fields.”

Freshmen 5-11 guards Cavin McDowell and Kaden Hines will split time between reserve and varsity.

“Cavin is a very good defender who knows how to use his body and hands,” Barnett said. “He can help us speed up the opponent in a way that they are not comfortable with.

“Kaden fits in as an off guard and has good leadership qualities, especially with being just a freshman. He’s calm and does not let things get to him.”

The Vikings (9-13, 9-5 in 2021-22) will also look to utilize sophomore six-foot guard Luke Burgett and 6-2 junior guard Riley Dick.

“Riley is another young man who can help us out defensively and also rebound around the basket some,” Barnett said. “Luke can knock down some shots and is another option we utilize.”

Barnett is looking forward to using the Vikings’ athleticism, starting on Nov. 23 when they open the season with a non-league game at Lancaster.

“We are going to be more of a running team on offense than we have been recently with our athleticism, we’re going to run multiple sets and look to push the ball,” he said. “We feel like we have a good skill level with our guys, and we want to use that.

“It’s also going to allow us to do some different things defensively, to extend in the full-court with pressure and also to use both man and zone in the half court. We want to be as successful as we can early on, but the goal is to be playing strong basketball as a team going into the second half of the season and the tournament.”

2022-23 Roster
No. Player Gr. Ht.

0 Kole Nungester 9 5-11
2 Brody Fields 9 6-1
4 Ryan Allton 12 5-7
5 Owen Hoffhines 10 5-6
11 Cavin McDowell 9 5-11
15 Kaden Hines 9 5-11
22 Riley Dick 11 6-2
25 Luke Burgett 10 6-0
35 Brayden Primmer 12 6-5
44 Sam Miller 11 6-4
50 Ivan Smith 12 6-3
Coach: Brian Barnett
Assistant coaches: Mike Browning, Tim Boyd, Austin Brachok

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