By Chris Parker
Purdy boys basketball enters the second season of the Ryan Stokes era looking to get back above .500 after finishing 10-16 last season.
Leading the way this year will junior Osiel Aldava who earned second-team all-conference honors as a sophomore. He averaged 12 ppg, 8 rpg, 2 spg and 2 apg last year.
“I think the experience he gained from the Final Four run really helps, and he is just super aggressive. Timid players struggle and he isn’t timid at all,” Aldava said. “He is stronger physically. I bet he has put on 20 pounds. He is probably the strongest kid in the school and he has done a good job developing his game. His freshman year he was just a shooter, last year he became a slasher and this year I expect him to be a true scorer.”
Clayton Henderson, Scotty Henry, Zack Brewer and Harley Stephens all return this year. Henderson will run the point after starting there last year. Henry is the Ozarks’ tallest player a 7-feet and will give the Eagles a size advantage every night.
Jesus Aldava, Andres Aldaba and Jake Brown all will all contribute this year.
“These guys will have a giant impact in our success. All three can really defend. Jake will be our shooter off the bench. Andres will be our top defender off the bench and Jesus is our do it all guy. His best quality is rebounding. He has the ability to get 4-5 offensive rebounds a game,” Stokes said.
Speed will be key for Purdy this year.
“We should be a really fast team. So I think this will allow us to do some fun stuff defensively and score a lot in transition,” Stokes said.
Stokes will look for his squad to out-work opponents each night.
“I expect our team to be the hardest working and classiest every night. Worst case scenario when we walk off the floor knowing we outworked the other team and played the game the right way,” Stokes said.
Purdy opens the season on Nov. 26 at home against Ash Grove.