SCA sits on top of our pre-season 2A poll, but if they want to stay there, 6'1" SR. Blake Sutton could be the reason! I had a chance to sit down with Sutton and discuss SCA, his future and 2A hoops.
T: Few know about your recent injury and surgery, tell us
what happened and when your projected date is to return to the court?
Sutton: We were doing a tackling drill in practice, and my shoulder gave out. I dislocated it, had a small fracture, and tore the ligaments that hold it in place. I had surgery a few days later and repaired it. (The injury occurred 6 weeks ago) I'm hoping to be back at full strength by mid-December (December 13th maybe?) I will be starting practice with the team tomorrow. I can form shoot and do dribbling drills right now. I just have to avoid contact and continue to strengthen my shoulder. There is no set date for my return.
T: SCA will be our preseason #1. Obviously the chance to go undefeated is slim with VC, DC and your tournament play. Who do you see being your toughest competition, and why?
Sutton: I still see Valley Christian as the toughest team on our schedule, although DC is a close second. We match up better against the taller DC squad, and VC has had our number for the last few years.
T: Give us some insight on Coach Fredricks. How he runs practice, and his game coaching.?
Sutton: Coach Fredricks is a great coach. Our practices are extremely intense. Every single minute of our practice is planned. There is no down time. Every drill is run at full speed. Coach Ediger is not well known, but he makes a huge impact on our team. As for game coaching, it's hard to argue with Fredricks' resume. We win games by playing with solid fundamentals, great defense, and teamwork. We are extremely prepared night in and night out. What more can you ask for?
T: Tell us about your football experience:
Sutton: I love football. Playing WR/DB is a unique experience that I wouldn't have traded for anything. I love the one on one competition that goes on in the secondary. Coach Fox did a great job this year. Our team learned a lot and really progressed as the year went along. I wouldn't be surprised if SCA's football program takes off in the next few years.
T: Give us your 2A Pre-season Top 5.
1) Scottsdale Christian
2) Valley Christian
3) Desert Chritian
5) San Carlos
T: What will you have to do to elevate your game in 2004 to help SCA cut down the nets in AWA?
Sutton: Heal. =) I need to continue to be aggressive when I have the ball, like I did this summer. Showing leadership in practice and
developing chemistry with the guys (we've been playing together for 3 years now) are the two most important things I can do to help us achieve success this year.
T: Small ball in general does not get the respect that maybe it should, tell us your thoughts on this subject.
Sutton: The top teams in small ball do not get the credit they deserve because they are stereotyped with teams that simply cannot compete with larger schools. Just because we have fewer than 400 kids in our high school doesn't mean we can't ball with the best of them. Generally, the advantage large schools have over us small ballers is height. That isn't really an issue this year... When the top teams play head to head (SC, DC, VC), I think it would be hard to find a better game in the state on any level.
T: What are your goals beyond SCA?
Sutton: I plan on attending a Christian University in California. I want to go into the ministry field. I also look forward to coaching in the future.
T: Give us your breakdown on SCA's starting five for 2003-2004.
Sutton: We have a starting six this year (our starters will depend on matchups). At point guard we have Tim Maiden, who will drop a lot of jaws this year. He has really improved, and showed some great leadership this summer both on and off the court. At the 2guard we have Alex Rogers, the best all-around baller in the state (2a). What can't he do? He plays great defense, has great court vision, distributes the ball, and can take over the game. He's capable of putting up 40 points any given night against any team. The 3guard will either be myself, or Chris Osborn (depending on matchups). Chris is 6'6 now, and can really leap(42 inch vertical now). He has more raw talent than I've ever seen in a small baller. He has a great jumper, and is always hustling. I am only 6'1 (that's small on our team). I would say my greatest strengths are my knowledge of the game, and my court vision. I love to score, but getting a teammate an open shot is just as important. I try to get everyone involved. Our 2 posts are Nkem O (I can't even spell his last name) and Kevin Koble. They are both 6'8 now. Nkem's game has grown by leaps and bounds. I'm not saying anymore about him... you're just going to have to watch the kid play. Kevin is a great shooter, and has been working on post moves and penetration. He isn't the stationary player everyone thinks he is.
T: Who is the toughest player you have played against and why?
Sutton: The toughest player I've ever played against was Tim Kruge. Not only was he physically dominating, but he was smart. He knew how to get open down low, and passed the ball well out to open shooters. He's the
best offensive post player I've ever played against. The best defender I've seen was Bergsma (the elder one). He hurt us bad in that state championship game. He was the unsung hero of that first VC championship squad. I have been playing against Brian Roberts since seventh grade. He is a great competitor, and a great player as well.
T: Give us your in-depth analysis on how SCA would compete in 5A?
Sutton: I haven't watched any 5a teams lately, so it's hard to say. I saw some larger schools play this summer at the ASU tourney. We can play with some of those guys. (We won the small-division tourney, and beat a few large-schools in the process.) I really would have loved to play against some of those big schools. You don't get better unless you play tough competition.