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New Ulm boys will see new faces

File photo by Steve Muscatello Joshua Wenninger drives to the hoop for the Eagles during a home game in December of 2019.

By Jim Bastian

Journal Sports Writer

NEW ULM — New Ulm High School head boys’ basketball coach Matt Dennis does not call this a rebuilding year.

“I want to call this a ‘keep building’ year,” he said. “We are plugging in some youth this year — we are going to be smaller — but I just want to keep building.”

One of the concerns that Dennis will have this year is trying to replace leading scorer and rebounder Reece Melby, who averaged more than 20 points a game and hauled down more than 200 rebounds total as New Ulm went 7-18 last year.

“To be honest, you cannot replace a player that has scored like that, but you rather find new ways to score,” Dennis said. “To say that we can replace Reece is saying that we have someone else who can fill his shoes. So we are going to need to try to look at it through different lenses. We need to find new ways to score.”

Some of that scoring will need to come from players like Charlie Osborne, Josh Wenninger, Isaiah Miller and Hunter Sehr.

Osborne averaged 9.8 points per game last season, with Miller averaging 6.6 and Wenninger 5.9.

Dennis said that Osborne “took a huge step forward” for them last year.

“He was in the gym pretty much every day last summer — he is a gym rat — and he is looking to take the next step,” Dennis said. “As the season went along last year, anyone who saw him play from Game 1 to Game 26 saw that he made a huge step forward.”

Dennis said that Wenninger is going to have to take more of an offensive role this season. “Last year he was more of a distributor,” Dennis said. “This year we can still showcase some of his offensive skills.

“I want to see both Charlie and Josh bring the ball up the court — they both can handle that. We are a good basketball team when Charlie touches the ball.”

Dennis said that Miller needs to be the team’s stopper this year. He and Brody Boulduan were the Eagles’ defensive stoppers.

Brayden Geaerity-Brandt and Connor Slette are going to have to be the inside force for the Eagles with Hunter Sehr being the outside threat.

“He shot the lights out in a game last year and we are looking for some good things from him on the perimeter,” Dennis said.

Dennis said that there will be some freshmen this season that are going to get their feet wet at the varsity level.

“We are going to have to push the ball offensively and run the floor because we are small,” Dennis said. “We need to push the tempo and get some transition points. The trend in the nation right now is layups and 3s. I think that that suits our style pretty well.”

Dennis said that for the Eagles to be successful this season they have to play good defense.

“If we do not play good defense, we will not compete,” he said. “We lost our two biggest rebounders in Reece and Cole Rhode, who had 80% of our rebounds. So we have to do things the right way on defense and we have to hustle. If we do mot play defense as a team, it is not going to work.”

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