NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk High School’s basketball team expects big things this winter. And its towering front line just might be the key to bringing the Bears their first winning season in a while.
Norwalk went 10-11 last year under first-year coach Tom Keyes. The reason for optimism is a front line that includes 6-5 sophomore Roy Kane, 6-7 sophomore Steven Enoch, 6-6 senior Sean Butler, 6-4 senior Saeed Soulemane and 6-4 senior Luke Sweeney. Not many teams in the league can match Norwalk’s height.
“I like our size,’’ said Keyes, whose team opens the season Wednesday at home against Danbury. “That might be an advantage we have over some other teams. I really like the way the kids play together. They’re all friends off the court. I know that sounds pretty cliché, but I actually mean it. They play basketball together all the time. They’re comfortable enough to criticize each other, but in a constructive way. I see that on the court, and hopefully, it will make us a better team.”
The Bears’ backcourt is led by Jabari Dear, Kane’s brother, and senior point guard Nick Boccanfuso. Jeremy Linton, a sophomore transfer from Trinity Catholic, will also see time at the point. Linton and Kane were on Carver Center teams that enjoyed great success in the youth leagues.
Kane, one of the top rebounders in the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference, is a budding star. He averaged 11.7 points a game last year. Dear, who averaged nine points per game last year, steps into a more prominent role this year.
The Bears biggest losses are Rasheen Thomson and Ra’Von Shular, who combined to averaged nearly 25 points a game last year.
“I have kids on the roster who are perfectly comfortable taking the big shot,’’ Keyes said. “They’ve been waiting for a few years for that opportunity. We have plenty of kids who can do it.”
Norwalk rode a roller-coaster last winter, winning five of its first six but losing its last four. It was a big improvement from the 4-16 mark in 2010-11, but the Bears could be even better this year.
“We’re excited about the progress we made,’’ Keyes said. “But this is a new year. We’re going to try and build on that, and hopefully, have a great year this year.”
Norwalk’s schedule is available online.