CROSSROADS — After losing six players to graduation this past season, the Crossroads High School boys’ basketball team has been spending the summer in search of a new floor general.
With six players moving up from the junior varsity squad, Head Coach Kevin Jackson is waiting for one of his more experienced players to step up.
“Right now we have no alpha dog, no one who’s willing to be a coach on the floor,” Jackson said. “If you don’t have a vocal leader on the floor, it kind of hurts the team.”
The void left by the departed seniors is considerable, especially with the exit of top scorer Aaron Irmas. Despite the team’s 1-9 record in league play, Irmas was able to lead the Roadrunners to a 13-14 overall mark last season, including a second-round appearance in the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section Division 5 playoffs.
It should help that Crossroads is moving from the Olympic League — where the Roadrunners, who had no players taller than 6-foot-4 on their roster, were often overmatched — to face more appropriate competition in the Alpha League next season. Still, finding someone to lead the team remains a concern.
“We have kids who are afraid to say what they have to say,” Jackson said.
One candidate to reverse that trend is 6-foot-1 guard Luke Shmuger, who was second on the team in scoring behind Irmas last season.
“He’s a definite scorer, but sometimes he gets lazy on defense,” Jackson said of Shmuger, adding that his star player also needs to become more assertive at the ends of games.
Shmuger has been averaging close to 20 points and eight assists a game during summer tournament and league games, Jackson said.
The Roadrunners placed eighth out of 16 teams at a tournament at Santa Monica College last weekend and are playing in a summer league on Wednesday nights at Crossroads.