New coach, new philosophy

Eric Fenstermacker, Reporter

Sports this year have gone under some major changes at Bellefonte Area High School due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the boys’ basketball team had some other major changes this year as well. Of the challenges that this team will face, a new coach and their stay player graduating are at the top.

Coach Rick Hall was a coach of the State College varsity football team for many years. When the position for head coach of the Bellefonte boys’ basketball team opened up, he described the opportunity as “too sweet” to pass up. Although he may not know much about the Bellefonte basketball program yet, Coach Hall is still holding this year’s team to high expectations.

My expectations this year is for the team to compete every minute of practices and games,” he said.

With the pandemic and every other factor that could be an excuse for poor performance on the hardwood, he is instilling the team with the attitude to compete. Coach Hall created the team’s slogan, “#COMPETE,” and expects all his players to live by it during this season.

One of the biggest questions surrounding the team this year is how they will make up for the productivity of star player Ben McCartney from just a year ago as he has graduated. While the players have been yet to be named for this year, the coach has already made his vision clear.

“I am a new coach and never have seen Ben play,” Coach Hall said. “I expect all players to be able to score and contribute and not focus on one player. The biggest things are hustle, compete, and be aggressive on defense.”

Coach Hall wants this season to be consistent with hard work and unselfish play. 

COVID-19 has affected high school sports throughout the country – with Bellefonte boys’ basketball being no exception. Coach Hall is unsure of what changes are to come. However, he maintains a positive mindset and wants his team to feel the same way.

“After coaching football at State College and the COVID-19 situation, it is a unique situation, but I preach to them that every day you come in the gym is a blessing, so take advantage of it, because you do not know when it can be taken away.”

Coach Hall is ready to create his legacy at Bellefonte Area High School in the basketball program. As he learns about the program and forms it to what he hopes to achieve, he made it very clear that he is a new coach and everything that happens this season will be important.

“With a new coach and new system, all games will  be important,” Coach Hall said.

With all the uncertainties surrounding this season for the Red Raider boys’ basketball team, one thing is for certain: expect this team to compete each and every night. Coach Hall may be new to coaching basketball, but he knows this year will be special for the team. Their first taste of competition is on Monday, December 7 at 7:30 pm at the Bellefonte Area high School.