Hawks looking for long-term improvement, not quick fix
Viera senior Alec Eugene (left) drives to the basket during a game against Astronaut earlier this season. The Hawks are working on getting better every day in practice and stressing that getting back to their winning ways will be a marathon, not a sprint.
VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala
When it comes to turning the Viera High boys basketball team back into a winner, new coach Logan Keith has a simple message:
“What we’re saying is it’s a marathon, not a sprint,” Keith said. “We have two guys that played varsity basketball last year. Everyone else is coming from JV, they’re coming from the freshman team, or they didn’t play at all last year.
“We’re just trying to get them better every day in practice. That’s our goal. We don’t have a goal for X amount of wins. We want to have a great practice every day. I think if we do that, we can make some gains.”
Keith comes to the Hawks after spending 15 successful years at Rockledge – 13 as the varsity head coach. He’s brought with him an up-tempo style that should make Viera a fun team to watch.
“We’re pressing, we’re trying to spread the floor some,” he said. “I think by playing that style offensively, it gives our guards a chance to develop because they’re handling the ball.
“It gives our shooters a chance to get out here with the floor spread and get off some shots.”
With a team that has talented players like seniors Alec Eugene and Cooper Davis, juniors James Goffigan, Tyler Cooley and Manny Luma and other key contributors like Blake Starrett, Kile Lin, Alex Nield, Sandro Cornelio and Avery Keith, the Hawks’ new coach certainly has something to work with.
Viera proved that with a fourth-quarter comeback to beat Melbourne earlier this year.
“I think the potential is great,” Davis said. “I think we’re going to start off a little rusty because we’re young. But it’s all going to work out in the long run. I feel like this team can go deep (into the postseason).
“I feel like we can contend with anybody at the end.”
Though he has only been at Viera a short time, Keith sees nothing but good things for the Hawks program down the road.
In fact, he said this year’s group is one of the hardest working teams he’s been around.
“Viera’s got a ton of potential,” Keith said. “We have great facilities. The community support is unbelievable. We’ve made some major upgrades to our program as far as some of the equipment we have.
“We want every day guys. That’s the culture (we’re building). We want every day guys who are going to show up and do something. That’s normally lift and then get in here and do skill work every single day.
“It will come around. But like I said, it’s not going to happen overnight. The thing is, we have confidence in these guys because of the work they put in.”
Viera will return from the winter break on Jan. 7 with a game at Satellite before heading to the Lakewood Ranch Shootout Jan. 10-11. The Hawks’ next home game will come on Jan. 13 when Viera hosts Keith’s former team, the Rockledge Raiders.
Davis, for his part, thinks the Viera basketball program is in good hands because of Keith’s ability to connect with his players both on and off the court.
“He’s a great leader,” Davis said of Keith. “An absolutely phenomenal guy, too. Not only can I connect with him as a player-coach relationship, but I can connect with him as a friend, too.
“He’s literally somebody I would go hang out with at Buffalo Wild Wings.”