Winter sports preview: boys basketball

Senior standout Walker Storey is headed to Saint Michael’s College next year on a full scholarship.
Senior standout Walker Storey is headed to Saint Michael’s College next year on a full scholarship.

With the loss of big name players in Division I, like Rice’s Ben Shungu and Burlington’s Josh Hale, among others, the Champlain Valley Union boys basketball team hopes to challenge in a much more wide-open division this season.

The Redhawks return nine players from last year’s 15-7 team, and after some strong work in the off-season, coach Michael Osborne and his players are setting their sights high. “The team is experienced, quick and skilled,” the coach said in an e-mail. “The team feels that the record can be improved on and can challenge at the top of the Metro Division and D-I.”

With depth on the roster, CVU will look to the senior class and Walker Storey in particular to guide the offense and will look to add versatility and creativity as the program looks to take steps forward this season.

Here are three players to watch as the Redhawks take the court:

Walker Storey, senior: A phenomenal shooter, Storey will be the engine that drives the CVU offense. With a high basketball IQ and a strong work ethic, Storey earned second-team honors of the Burlington Free Press All-State team and has already committed for next year to hometown team St. Michael’s College. “One of the best individual players in Vermont,” said Osborne of his senior talent.

Josh Bliss, senior: The senior will take the floor for CVU as both a guard and a forward, just one sign of his versatility as a player. As Bliss can handle, pass, shoot, defend, and rebound well, Osborne will rely on Bliss on both ends of the floor. “He’s a jack-of-all-trades player,” Osborne said.

Matt Spear, senior: Spear’s contribution to the Redhawks will likely be a result of remarkable speed, with his quickness allowing him to pester opposing teams on defense and provide a different look on the offensive side of the ball. “He is arguably our most improved players,” Osborne said. “He is remarkably quick and creative offensively.”

Another one to watch is senior guard Colin Monsey, a terrific passer and shooter.

The season opener is Dec. 13 at St. Johnsbury.