What’s understood doesn’t need to be said. Kevin Soares is a great coach, and he rarely says a word in practice. Most of the instruction is left to his assistant, Keith Starr. When he does speak, the coach has the…
What’s understood doesn’t need to be said. Kevin Soares is a great coach, and he rarely says a word in practice. Most of the instruction is left to his assistant, Keith Starr. When he does speak, the coach has the complete attention of everyone in the gym. Last season, his first as Liberty was magical. He inherited 2 division 1 bigs and the challenge of defeating a team that hadn’t lost to an in-state team in nearly a decade. While the bigs are gone the challenge is still there, and despite holding the title, many view Bishop Gorman as the favorite. This is of little concern to Soares who keeps things in perspective. “We can’t win state till February” While that is true, they look pretty good in November. The Patriots return the best PG in America inand a collection of young hungry talented post players to replace their D1 bigs. In this article, we preview the Liberty Patriots.
Kambala is one of the top two way players in the state, and plays the game with a chip on his shoulder. The newly minted Utah Tech signee takes the challenge of shutting down opposing ballhandlers, and has the ability to instantly change the scoreboard with his three point shooting.
When Castillero is on the floor, the Patriots have three of the top shooters in the state. The sharpshooter does not need much space to do damage, as he possesses a lighting quick release, and in the gym range.
Porter is one of the better football players in the state, and according to his teammate the strongest player on the team. He didn’t workout with the team as he was recovering from football season. After watching him in the summer, he is one of my potential breakout players. Porter could be a major x-factor for the team with his ability to defend, and finish in transition.
Ellena is one of the top shot blockers in the state, and he’ll be part of the Liberty interior commitee. His biggest value will be his ability to protect the rim, but if he can give the team offense through putbacks and close range finishes, it will be an added bonus to the team.
Bryan didn’t play in the workout, as he was recovering from football season. The two sport star is a physical, throwback big that will add depth to the Patriots interior.
Thomas comes into the season as the #2 ranked prospect in the class of 2026. His ranking was irrelevant in the scrimage as he was coached as hard as anyone. To his credit, he took in all the lessons showing that he too has the chance to be an extension of his coach. The lefty will allow DJ to play off the ball some, as he showed some natural PG ability.
Bright was probably the one person, I was most excited to see, as I’ve heard nothing but good things about his post play. He did not disapoint, as he showed a nice touch around the basket. The majority of his buckets were catch and finishes, however he didn’t miss one, and every now and then, was able to sprinkle in some back to the basket play.
Riley is a transfer from Bonanza, that was extremely productive as a freshman. He has a lot of skills that will help the team, including his ballhandling, on ball defense and shooting.
Reid is probably the most active of all the bigs. He runs the floor well, and showed off some big time rim protection pinning a couple of shots against the backboard. His offense is improving, as he showed a lot of confidence, and some improved footwork, his job now is simply to finish more consistently around the rim.
Bradley is an impposing force, with a big personality. He is going to provide a different interior look, as he may not be as tall as some of the other interior players, but he’s just as strong. Bradley’s low post defense, and interior scoring ability will be key to the Patriots replacing their bigs from a year ago.
For my money Thomas is the best player in America, so the top prospect spot was easy. If there was any doubt he put it to rest, by shredding his teammates in the practice. Good players make the game look easy, and it seemed effortless for him during 5 on 5 play. The high target recruit is coming off a recent visit to the hometown Rebels.