New coach, new basketball season tip at Cassville
Milleson era to tip off for Wildcat basketball
The coaching carousel was in full effect last season when Danny Powers stepped down as basketball coach and eventually took the Neosho baseball job.
Cassville went on to make a splash with the hiring of Barrett Milleson as Powers' replacement.
While the head coaching position for Milleson is his first, he is no stranger to the game or coaching. He is the son of current George Mason head women's coach and former Missouri State and Drury head coach Nyla Milleson.
"We are very excited for the season to start," Barrett Milleson said. "We have one returning starter and a bunch of competitive players ready to contribute. We had a good summer and got better.
"As a coach, I have been around the game my entire life. I look forward to building a program. The buy-in that I have seen in my few months here has exceeded my expectation. We hope to get better every day we play. We will be a senior led team that will need to play fast."
Last season's 4-21 mark for Cassville was forgettable, and to add insult to injury, Milleson's only returning starter is senior Noah Hadlow. The Wildcats lost Josh Brown, Gabe Kirk, Riley Lekarcyzk and Mason Loveland to graduation
"This year, we will have many new faces in the rotation," Milleson said. "As a coaching staff, we are very excited about the future with our underclassmen."
Hadlow, a 6-0 guard, led the Wildcats in scoring last season.
"Noah can make plays and shoot proficiently," Milleson said. "He is a versatile, offensive talent with long arms to go with an ability to make plays on both ends of the floor."
Returning for the Wildcats are seniors Allen Lambel and Tyler Speakman.
Lambel, at 5-10, and Speakman, at 6-1, contributed off the bench as juniors and are expected to carry a heavy workload of minutes on varsity, as well as replace the bulk of scoring lost, according to their new coach.
"Allen has great handles and court awareness," Milleson said. "He can make other players better and is very vocal. Speakman has a great shooting stroke and calm demeanor.
"He couples that skill set with a good basketball IQ, and he can the score the ball well." Milleson said
Cassville will also have a wealth of seniors and several juniors returning to fight for their chance at varsity time, along with an emerging, talented sophomore and freshman class of players waiting in the wings for an opportunity.
"We will be a guard-dominant team that plays fast," Milleson said. "We have many seniors on our roster. With this being my staff's first year, we are anxious to get everyone in the gym for practice to see all of the players. We will be stressing the fundamentals of basketball and play the game the right way.
"Defensively, we want to play tough fundamental defense. We will pressure other teams and hope to create turnovers. On-ball defense will be a priority for this team."
Cassville is in action Monday at the Strafford Tournament. The home opener is set for Dec. 11 with Neosho.