Record number of students slated for basketball tryouts

Zac Fernandez

Coaches and players have high hopes for the upcoming season.

With basketball tryouts beginning November 18, the coaches and players are preparing logistics for the evaluation process due to the large number of students trying out.

The upcoming 2016 – 2017 basketball season has already grabbed the attention of many students around campus. Whether it be potential players, Friar Nation, or returning players, everyone seems to be excited.

Mr. John Harmatuk, also known as Coach Tuk, is headed into his fourth year as the Friars’ head coach and has never seen numbers this large in tryouts.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“We are a meritocracy. In other words, you have to earn it. Age and previous varsity experience doesn’t have anything to do with it.”

-Head Coach John Harmatuk[/perfectpullquote]

“My first year here we had a total of 38 kids try out for the team, and now with it pushing 80 kids, it’s exciting that people are starting to enjoying basketball more here at Malvern,” Harmatuk said.

To be exact, there are 78 students trying out for the basketball team this year, 54 of whom are freshman. This large turnout shows just how much the basketball program at Malvern appeals to the students.

Senior guard Tommy Wolfe said, “It’s good that a lot of kids are trying out, it makes it more competitive and the program will continue to get better.”

With numbers this large, it raises the question about how every player will receive a fair evaluation.

Coach Tuk is planning on using all of the coaches on staff to help evaluate each of the players in a manner that is fair and gives everyone an opportunity to showcase their skills.

Specific numbers for the spots on the varsity, junior varsity, and freshman teams have not been set and most likely won’t be set until tryouts are completely over, according to Harmatuk.

“I don’t have a set number. I think every year it’s different. It’s about seeing which kids gel with each other and fit. I’m just looking forward to see how competitive try outs are,” Harmatuk said.

Results from 2016 Freshman Survey – August 2016 –

Freshman Nate Daller is excited about the season but understands the impact of the large number of freshman trying out.

“Going into tryouts I know that I’m going to have to make the most of my opportunities and not be lazy on the court,” Daller said.

Coach Tuk’s motto for the year is that players have to work for their spot on the team. This idea will carry over into tryouts and for the rest of the season.

“We are a meritocracy. In other words, you have to earn it. Age and previous varsity experience doesn’t have anything to do with it,” Harmatuk said. “The guys that earn it are going to be the guys that play. I think this gives everyone an opportunity.”

Senior leadership will also help set the tone for this team, and it starts in tryouts. Wolfe understands this and is ready to take on a leadership role.

“The most important thing for me to do is to build a tribe. [Freshmen] can’t just be followers. The young guys are good enough to contribute at a varsity level and it is important that they also help lead the team,” Wolfe said.

As for the style of play this year, Coach Tuk is emphasizing an uptempo pace of play.

“We have a lot of guards,” Tuk said. “The more uptempo we can play, the more we can make up for our lack of size.”

This upcoming season has also grabbed the attention of Friar Nation. Senior Matt Boles, who controls the Friar Nation social media accounts, is excited to advertise basketball games and get good turnouts.

“Friar Nation is going to be very involved with basketball this year. The indoor and close environments really let our chants be heard and get in the opposing team’s heads,” Boles said. “We have some awesome student section themes in mind, so be on the lookout for Friar Nation.”

Story produced in senior Journalism and Media literacy elective class