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Prep boys basketball: New coach wants young Vikings to play fast

A new coach always brings a certain amount of mystery into a program, but New Miami High School’s Jared Lee doesn’t mind adding to the question marks.

Call it “Go big or go home.”

The first-year Vikings coach and former New Miami girls basketball assistant plans to open the season with three freshmen starting in the backcourt for his boys team.

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Brothers Jordan and Trey Robinette — who are not twins, Lee said — and Deanza Duncan will man the backcourt when New Miami plays a Miami Valley Conference Gray Division game at St. Bernard on Dec. 5.

“I think our biggest concern is simply the unknown,” said Lee, who landed the varsity boys job last spring. “We’re starting three freshmen who’ve never played on varsity, but I think they’re also three of the main reasons to be excited. They’re very talented, fast and explosive. Anybody who takes one look around will see that we’re not very tall, so we’re going to have to play quick.”

Lee is hoping that junior Ronnie Bowman can provide stability in his third season as a starter. Bowman returns after leading last season’s Vikings — who finished 4-19 overall and 0-13 in the MVC Gray Division — in scoring with an average of 11 points per game and rebounding with an average of 12.7 per game.

“He’s a guy we’re really going to lean on this year,” Lee said. “He’s one of our key post guys. He’s the only guy returning who’s battle tested. We’re going to try to get a lot out of him on the court. He handles the ball well down low and rebounds well.”

Bowman is the only returning starter for New Miami, which lost six seniors from last season’s team. The last open starting slot will likely be filled either by junior Nate Hobbs or sophomore Danny Spivey. Both have “high ceilings,” Lee said.

Hobbs played in 11 varsity games last season.

“We’re quite excited about him,” Lee said. “He got a little bit of varsity time last season. He got his feet wet a little bit. He could start or be a key reserve. He’s extremely athletic. He’s still a little raw. We’ve got to keep building on him, but we’re very excited.”

Spivey played in five varsity games last season.

“He’s either going to start or be the first guy off the bench,” Lee said. “We hope to get some big minutes out of him.”

New Miami’s lack of size limits Lee’s offensive options.

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“We’re going to be very fast-paced,” he said. “We’ll try to get up and down the court as much as possible. Defensively, we’ll mix it up, go back-and-forth between zone and man-to-man.”

Lee also is hoping for key contributions off the bench from his only two seniors, Jeremy Rogers and Franklin Gray. Rogers is back after not playing last season.

Landing the job so early allowed Lee to get a good look at his new team.

“We had a full summer,” he said. “We got some work in and were able to get after it. We had a pretty good showing.”

The Vikings are scheduled to open their home schedule on Dec. 8 against Lockland, another MVC Gray opponent. They’re jumping right into the thick of the conference slate.

“It’s a big first week for us,” Lee said. “The big question mark is the unknown. Looking at our record as a program, we know that we’ve struggled. We realize that we’ve been at the bottom of the league for a while. We’re looking to gain respect from the league. We can’t wait to get into the trenches with them.”

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