Veteran boys basketball coach Keith Diebler has had good teams and very good teams. Bad teams and strong teams. Fast teams and experienced teams, and some not-so-experienced teams.
He’s won a state championship (2005) and been a state runner-up (2007). This past season, his first as the head coach at Genoa, Diebler watched the Comets finish 3-18 overall and dead last (0-14) in the Northern Buckeye Conference. Still, he remains undeterred.
“Obviously, record-wise the season was not successful,” Diebler said. “The kids stayed the course. We put in a system, and the system’s not forgiving if you’re not very physical or you can’t do the things we needed to do defensively.”
|Genoa coach Keith Diebler preaches basketball lessons to his players. (Press photo by Harold Hamilton/HEHphotos.lifepics.com)
The Comets gave up 91 points or more 11 times in 2012-13. They got outrebounded by nearly 10 boards a game and shot just 35 percent from the field, including 28 percent from 3-point range.
Diebler, however, chooses to look on the bright side.
Genoa returns 10 lettermen and 68.5 points a game next year, including three starters who scored in double figures. Injuries and inexperience forced him to use several different starting lineups, and two freshmen saw enough court time to earn varsity letters.
“The way the kids stayed the course, this is going to get nothing but better,” Diebler said. “I can’t wait until we can get back in the gym and get after it. They understand what shooting on the move means and what will happen when our defense gets better. We really got hurt on the glass this year, but we had pups out there. I’m excited and the kids are excited.”
Next year’s squad will return 6-foot-1 sophomore Luke Rightnowar, a second-team All-NBC pick who averaged 17.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.3 steals a game this season.
“He had a pretty good year,” Diebler said, “and it’s going to get better for him as he gets stronger. What impresses me the most about him is that he went to the foul line 138 times and broke the school record for foul shots made, with 99. He’s just learning how to draw fouls and understand when to get fouls and that kind of stuff. If you’re assertive, you’re going to score. He was pretty assertive. As he developed, his assists went up and that part of his game really came on.”
Casey Gose, a 5-9 point guard, averaged 13.7 points, 7.1 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 2.1 steals as a junior. He earned honorable mention all-district honors.
“He’s going to be the surprise next year, mark my words,” Diebler said. “He loves the game. He’s come on to be a really good point guard. He’s going to be tremendous. His court vision is a strength. As he’s understanding the system, it’s nice to see because I’m turning a lot of things over to him with the decision making process.”
Several other top players will return next year, including junior Jake Schimming, who averaged 10 points a game, sophomore Amos Cauder, who averaged eight points and a team-high 7.1 rebounds, junior post Grant Adams (9 ppg.), 6-5 sophomore Noah Goodrich (7 ppg.), Jared Brossia and Tim Hemminger.
“If Jared Brossia wouldn’t have broken his arm in the Northwood game, we’d be talking about him now,” Diebler said. “He came off the bench in our tournament game and looked real good. It will be nice to have him all year next year. We played Tim Hemminger a lot, and he’s going to get better. He had 11 points in the tournament and played defense really well.”
Diebler said the Comets will take full advantage of their time together this offseason, which will include a trip to Ohio State’s team camp.
“We’ll spend most of the time on skill and getting better on our shooting,” the coach said. “That was a weakness for us. We shot 603 threes and broke the school record. They’re going to have to work on their skills, and they know that. They know they have to get in the weight room. We want to get a lot more physical and stronger. We’re fired up and looking forward to the future.”
Genoa coach Keith Diebler. (Press photo by Harold Hamilton/HEHphotos.lifepics.com)
Genoa coach Keith Diebler talks lessons to his players. (Press photo by Harold Hamilton/HEHphotos.lifepics.com)
Genoa sophomore Luke Rightnowar shoots over Woodmore players. (Press photo by Harold Hamilton/HEHphotos.lifepics.com)