Analysis: Looking ahead to the boys varsity basketball season

By Charlie Zwibelman

The starters

PG: Semetri Carr

Carr is the primary scorer for the Bulls. He is knock-down off catch-and-shoots and his ability to create space helps him succeed against stronger defenders. Carr’s pure shot and ball handling is complemented by his slashing. He is a dynamic threat downhill with a wide variety of athletic finishes in the paint. Additionally, Carr is a solid perimeter defender, utilizing his awareness and agility to stop opposing guards. There is a reason Carr has already picked up multiple division one offers. Look for him to be a First-Team All-MCAL player this season. 

NBA Comparison: Damian Lillard

SG: Joaquin Aguillon

Aguillon looks primed for a breakout season after filling in a sixth-man role for the Bulls. His main strength is his three-point shooting. In Branson’s heavy-pass offense, Aguillon is constantly moving off-ball to get an open look. He can also run an offense very well and is a high-IQ player. He is a lockdown perimeter defender and rarely makes mistakes defensively. Aguillon and Carr make up a well-rounded and dynamic Branson backcourt. 

NBA Comparison: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 

SF: Jase Butler

Butler can do it all. He is the full package offensively. He uses his size and athleticism to break-down the defense and create open looks. He is a lethal threat in transition. Very few players have the physical attributes to match up with him when he has a head full of steam going toward the basket. Also, Butler has a solid mid-range shot and can even space out to the three-point line where he has a smooth lefty stroke. He makes the biggest impact on defense. At the small forward position, Butler can defend anyone, from quick guards to physical wings or even centers. He tends to guard the other team’s best player, regardless of position. 

NBA Comparison: Jimmy Butler 

PF: Finley Keeffe

Keeffe is a key role player for the Bulls. He is a knockdown shooter on the catch-and-shoot. He has also improved his vertical during the off-season which makes him so much more dynamic on offense, as he can attack defenders and get to the rim. He has a solid bag of finishes around the rim and can also distribute to others. He has become a player who can score at all three levels (in the paint, midrange, and three-point). He is a great defender and is another guy to throw on the opposing team’s best player to give him a different look.

NBA Comparison: Mikal Bridges 

C: George Gale 

Gale is the veteran center for the Bulls. He can space the floor and score down low. Defensively, he can switch onto the perimeter and defend guards and does a good job keeping opposing centers quiet in the paint. He also leads the team in blocks and his lengthy frame gives him a large recovery radius. These attributes make Gale a well-rounded center for a strong Bulls team.

NBA Comparison: James Wieseman 

A well-rounded team

The Bulls offense looks to be a prolific unit. While star guard Carr will carry a majority of the scoring load, every player in the starting lineup has the ability to pass, dribble and shoot. This gives the team a very dynamic look on offense, as every player has the ability to not only create their own shot but create for others. This dynamic offense will give opposing defenses fits trying to slow down. But perhaps the best aspect of this team is defense.

Butler is an elite defensive player, and guards such as Carr, Keeffe and Aguillon are also all great perimeter defenders, and even if you were to get by one of them, Gale is locking down the paint. Scoring on this team will be extremely difficult. 

Off the bench, senior Bennett Steifman and junior Pierce Curtin should provide a solid scoring punch. Look for freshmen DJ Armstrong and Joseph Hammond to make impacts this season and carve out bigger roles for themselves as the season progresses. The bench unit is very solid, and the Bulls have no holes on this roster. Overall, this team is loaded with talent on both sides of the ball and will be hard for anyone to beat. Look for this team to hang another MCAL championship banner in Branson’s gym after the season.