From coaching at Somerville to his most recent stop at El Campo, newly hired Hays High boys basketball coach Matthew Sandoval has learned the importance of adaptability.
As he takes over a Rebel basketball program that returns five players from last year’s roster, Sandoval said he is ready for the challenge.
Sandoval, an Austin Johnston High and University of Texas at Austin alumnus, was hired over the summer to replace head coach Sam Lunz, who departed for a coaching position in Jackson Hole, Wyo. He inherits a team that struggled to an 8-23 record last season.
So far, Sandoval said players and coaching staff are continuing to work out the kinks under the new system. He said the program is finishing out the tryout process, but that students are responding well.
He also said the program hosted a fall league, which allowed them to work with returning players.
“The guys are working hard and they respond well to instruction. Their reaction time to learning is what I’m impressed with,” Sandoval said.
Guiding the Rebels will be senior Charles Bohannon, who averaged 14.9 points per game last season and shot 48 percent from the field. Behind Bohannon is junior Matthew Rindahl, who led the team by shooting 37 percent from the three-point line. Rindahl averaged 9.7 points per game last season.
Joining the two are several key returning players, including sophomore Dre Green, Pearson Hoekstra and senior Dawson Moreland.
“Those are the guys we are going to lean on and they are going to be our cornerstones,” Sandoval said. “It’s going to have to be a team effort. It’s going to have to be. We could have to depend on a lot of guys. It could be a different guy every night.”
But adapting to the strengths of the team is also a primary focus for Sandoval. While there are certain concepts to instill, such as discipline and the importance of rebounding and playing good defense, adapting to the players is a vital component.
“We try to adapt to what we have as far as the kids,” Sandoval said.
While there is a learning curve involved with being a first-year coach, Sandoval believes his experience will help the cause.
“Between myself and the coaching staff and the players, I hope to expedite that,” he said.