Badger boys bball practice

Head coach Forrest Larson, center, yells orders as junior Christian Johnston, right, drives past senior Tyus Vinson during practice. (Photo by Andrew Tucker/Regional News)

For many coaches, when it comes to critiquing their teams, they take the easy way out and sugarcoat the struggles.

For Badger boys basketball head coach Forrest Larson, he’s not pulling any punches.

“Last year was not good in a lot of respects,” Larson said. “Obviously, that’s last year. We’re not dwelling on that. We’re moving ahead.”

His assessment of last year’s team is not mere pessimism; the team picked up a 4-19 record and finished last in the Southern Lakes Conference, going 1-13 in conference play.

Larson has got a plan in place to take a step up from last season, though.

First and foremost, the team needs to shore up its passing. According to Larson, since it’s the thing a team does most in a game, it needs to be solidified through practice.

Second, players need to rebound better. Larson feels that last year’s team allowed too many second-chance points.

Lastly, they need to take better shots, and make them at a higher percentage.

He knows that is easier said than done, and as such, he’s changing the way the team plays. After losing the team’s top four scorers from last year, and fielding a young team with only two seniors, changes needed to be made to give the team a chance to score enough points to win.

“I don’t think anybody on this team is a 20-point-per-game guy. There’s got to be five guys that average 10 points per game,” Larson said. “We really struggled this summer scoring. We struggled this fall, so we’re really trying to generate some offense in transition. We’ve got to be much, much better. It’s a lot easier to score 3-on-3 than it is 5-on-5, so the ball has got to be pushed up the floor, make or miss.”

Expecting a wholesale turnaround and a conference championship contender this year may be asking a bit too much, but the team’s goal is to just continue to progress as the year goes on by challenging the players every day.

“We’re just going to try to get better every day, and then there’s a certain level of mental toughness that we’re trying to get these guys to,” Larson said. “Kids are a lot tougher than they think they are, so these guys need to be pushed.”