By George Bremer
The Herald Bulletin
ALEXANDRIA, Ind. —
After one season as a head coach at Clinton Central, Chad Wetz is back where he feels he belongs.
The former Alexandria boys basketball assistant coach, and Anderson girls basketball head coach, takes over the Tigers’ program this season following two years under Steve Brunes.
Wetz is familiar with Alexandria’s roster from his time with the team in 2010-11, and he promises to bring an up-tempo, aggressive style of basketball to Small Town, USA.
“It’s a really great opportunity and a blessing to have the opportunity to come back to Alexandria, where my kids wanted to go to school, and to a community that we want to live in.” Wetz said.
He finds a program with plenty of changing parts but more than enough talent in place.
The Tigers lost leading scorer Mitch Yeagy (16.9 points per game) and Jordan Allen (7.8) from last year’s 10-12 team. Yeagy shot 48.1 percent from the field and led Alexandria with 97 assists and 36 steals.
“There’s a lot of leadership that we have to replace,” Wetz said, “and we’re going to do it with young guys.”
Everything starts, however, with senior Landon Breese. He shot 55.8 percent overall and 38.8 percent from 3-point range while averaging 14.5 points per game a year ago.
Breese opened the season with 22 points against Pendleton Heights, and he had four 20-point games overall. The shooting star reached double figures in 17 of the 21 games he played.
Wetz hopes the addition of junior point guard Layton Carroll, a transfer from Frankton who averaged 5.2 points per game last year, will help free Breese for more scoring opportunities.
“What we’re doing is working on getting Landon the ball in his hands on the second or third pass in our offense,” Wetz said.
Jake Fox is the only other returning senior on a team that will feature six sophomores. Many of the youngsters — including Braden Warren and Brandon Wright — already have some varsity experience. Blaize Kelly — another sophomore — spent the past two falls as the quarterback for Alexandria’s football team.
So experience isn’t likely to be a negative factor, even with the Tigers’ young age.
“We have sophomores who have played as much basketball as a lot of juniors and seniors on some teams,” Wetz said.
One thing Alexandria lacks is height. The Tigers’ tallest players are 6-foot-1 or 6-foot-2. But a trio of sophomores — Jonah Jerrils, Evan Hodges and Jacob Thurston — with football experience will be asked to mix it up in the paint.
It’s a group that shows plenty of promise on paper.
But Wetz said none of that will mean a thing, unless the Tigers can translate it to the court.
“We haven’t won any games, yet,” he said. “We’ve gotta go out and earn the Ws and prove our experience on the floor.”