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COVID-19 has certainly dampened many coaches’ spirits when it comes to playing a season this year. However, Miramonte boys basketball coach Chris Lavdiotis remains optimistic that his team could have a season.
His team practices three or four times a week on outdoor courts to stay within COVID regulations, although the frequent rain can make that tough. The biggest rule for these practices is no contact between players, so they are unable to run any kind of team scrimmages or even practice their defense on a live offense. Still, Miramonte is lucky to have these practices.
“I talked to other coaches and most of them have not even seen their players,” Lavdiotis said. “I consider ourselves pretty fortunate.”
Lavdiotis has been coaching for 34 years, and like every coach, has never had an offseason like this one. Him and his team frequently have Zoom calls to be able to watch film and discuss different styles and approaches to the game. This helps them stay on top of things even when the coach cannot see his team as much as he would like.
In the event that Miramonte is able to have a season, Lavdiotis has a lot of confidence in his players. After losing six seniors last year, he has still been able to revamp his team. Lavdiotis attributes this to the consistency and similarity of the program. All three levels – freshman, junior varsity and varsity – are preaching the same ideals and core values.
Ahead of a possible season, Lavdiotis expects his two senior captains to stand out. Ryan Schwarz, a three-year varsity player, and Niyi Olabode, a four-year varsity player, are poised to have great seasons. Both players have received collegiate offers and will be playing at the next level in a year. Lavdiotis knows these players are very talented, but what stands out to him the most is their leadership abilities.
“This offseason pandemic craziness has really given them an opportunity to show their leadership skills,” Lavdiotis said. “Not just to their peers, but to the younger kids as well.”
Lavdiotis is confident that his two senior captains have bought into the values that represent the program. These include team basketball, playing with maximum effort and having fun playing the sport they love. Lavdiotis also believes that programs run best when the older players coach the younger players. These are the values that are being preached through all three levels of Miramonte.
With the possibility of a season looming, Miramonte has done all that it can to stay on top of its game, so that they can compete at the highest level when the time comes.
That Ryan Schwarz is truly a team player and top of his game! Looking forward to a great season!
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