Rebuilding the Komets

Posted at: 12/17/2013 6:43 PM

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- "With me, I just always look for another challenge," said first-year Kasson-Mantorville boys basketball coach Kelly Raymond.

Having won only four games last year, the Komets present that challenge.

"I love building programs. I've never inherited a really great one. There's a reason I am here, unfortunately," said Raymond.

Raymond's track record certainly makes him the right man for the job.

He spent the last five years taking the St. Peter's boys basketball program from a nine-win team to a 28-win team.

"If you ask any coach in any program it's no secret, great players help make you a good coach," Raymond said.

The Komets not only have the talent to be a winning team this year, but the guys are invested in Raymond's goals for the future.

"You can buy in or buy a ticket. You can come watch us or you can buy in and do what we want you to do and play hard and have some fun doing it," said Raymond.

"It's been great. We've been working very hard. We're adjusting. I think everyone's getting along with it, it's obviously working and we're having fun with it too," said Komets senior guard Chad Aaker.

The blue and white have had success early with a 5-2 record to start the season, but it's only December.

"We always talk to them that anyone can steer the ship when the seas are calm but what're you going to do when they start getting rough," said Raymond.

Luckily, the captain of that ship has a coaching philosophy to get his crew through those rough waters.

"I always tell the kids I coach like I play. I'm not very gifted. The good Lord made me six-nine and gave me zero athleticism but I can't run faster than you; I can run harder, I can stay longer in the gym, I can outwork you, and that's what I try and tell the kids because there's really no secret to being a good athlete or a good student. It's hard work. You've got to put the hours in. If you give the effort hopefully the results will be there," said Raymond.

"He's very good with telling you what you did wrong in a good way. He'll fix it right away," said Aaker.

But rebuilding a program involves more than just a team's performance on the court.

"We talk about having defense, fundamentals, and being disciplined whether that's on the court, in the classroom, or in the community. Whatever you're doing people are always watching," said Raymond.

So the process continues one step at a time, one game at a time.

"This year, we're psyched about playing games," said Aaker.

"The biggest thing you have to turn is we're a good basketball team and we're going to win games. You just have to keep working that process," said Raymond.