One month before the Pitman High School Boys Basketball team was to begin their season, I decided to invite them to a retreat at the Discovery House, in Mullica Township New Jersey. I had been coaching these young men for the fall basketball season and was getting ready to turn them over to their head coach for the 2013-2014 basketball season. It was my hope that they had grown as teammates, both as players and as people. After winning every game in the fall by an average of 20 points, I was pretty certain they were all ready to play basketball. I was not as convinced that they were ready to go into battle – as the highly touted team with the proverbial red X on their back – as a unified and bonded group of young men.
With a blend of players from out of town (tuition paying) and local players, along with four college level players and several talented two sport athletes, chemistry and unified strength was not a given. Some of the players had been together since grammar school, some for three years as JV-Varsity players, and some were new to the team, having arrived during their junior or senior year to Pitman High School.