In December, I sat down with Mr. Salehi to get the inside scoop on the Senior Boys Basketball team. From the new grade 11 talent to coaching the Chicago Bulls, Mr. Salehi gives us the details on Collingwood’s very own 2017/18 Senior Boys Basketball team.
SG: What are your expectations or goals for the team this year?
SS: “We’re taking this season one game at a time. We expect to win the league and playoffs and perform well at provincials!”
SG: The most obvious difference between last year’s team and this one:
SS: This year’s group has greater composure on the court. There are also higher expectations of this group, so they expect to win.
SG: What about the new grade 11 talent?
SS: “ They’re hardworking and they communicate well with each other. They are very talented and competitive, which definitely helped change our dynamic from last year.”
SG: How have you kicked off this season well?
SS: “We have an 11-2 record so far overall. We haven’t played a great solid game from start to finish yet, but we are building and improving to get there.”
SG: What’s the energy like at practice?
SS: “That depends. Sometimes there can be practices where they can be low energy or hang around and we have to get on them, but they are usually a high energy group and very competitive with each other. They train hard when they want to win.”
SG: How do you feel about the team chemistry on the court? (Positive and/or negative)
SS: “Chemistry on the court is definitely positive. The grade 12’s have been together for a while now and our grade 11’s have also been together for 4 years so there’s good chemistry. The grade 11’s and 12’s mix well together.”
SG: This year’s senior group in three words or less:
SS: “Hardworking, good leadership, and dedicated.”
SG: Tell me something about a surprise player this year. (someone who’s improved or really stepped up for example)
SS: “A lot of guys have stepped up and improved this season. A player who was a surprise would be Tyler Preston since he didn’t play last year due to injury, we didn’t know what to expect and also Denis Tuck who hasn’t played since grade 8. We weren’t sure how fast he’d pick up tactics and skills, but he has stepped up and worked hard, and picked things up fast. He got MVP in one of our games and All Star in a tournament.”
SG: If you weren’t coaching Collingwood, what would be your dream coaching assignment?
SS: “Having any professional coaching job would be amazing, but if it’s in my world I’d pick the Chicago Bulls because they’ve been my favourite team since I was a kid.”
SG : Best warm-up song of all time:
SS: “California Love by Tupac…. Please tell me you know how to spell Tupac. (laughs)”
By Sophia Garofalo