Warhawks make summer hoops look easy

Published on: 7/9/2013

As per WIAA rules, head high school basketball coaches cannot actively take part in summer league activities of their teams.

But that does not mean they can't sit in the stands and smile as Germantown boys coach Steve Showalter did this last month, as his two-time WIAA State Division 1 champions stampeded both the Milwaukee Lutheran and the invitation-only Whiz Kids League of Champions with a combined record of 31-0.

And it also means, of course, that Showalter will still find things to criticize. His team this coming winter will be trying to improve on an official two-season 56-game winning streak and will have four returning starters plus a boatload of other talent to see if the team can't make it three state crowns in a row.

He will still cast a discerning and baleful eye upon the scene and still find things to improve on.

'The guys have been in two tournaments, two leagues,' Showalter said. 'We work hard to find the best competition we can get. We found things that need to be fixed and we also know we have something to work with.'

Coach doing well

Showalter was quite pleased with the work of Dave Huebner, who coached the summer league group. A former coach in the Warhawks system, whose professional commitments (he's a nurse), prevent him from working with the high school team in the winter, Huebner oversaw the open gyms and then the four nights a week of league play that the athletes took part in.

'Does he ever do a good job,' Showalter said. 'He helped us for a couple of years (with the high school teams). Now he does a little scouting for us and he does a great job with the kids in the summer. He's a bit more mild than I am (big laughs there), and he's a younger guy (in his late 20s) and they (the players) associate with him well.'

Huebner is happy to help out.

'This is a big commitment in the summer, a lot more than when I was playing,' he said. 'Open gyms, summer leagues, AAU ball (like the Swing). I can talk to Steve and we bounce ideas off each other....Since I coached with the school team I know what he's looking for. I like to keep my job (with him) so I don't get too adventurous (laughs).'

He doesn't need to. In the past, summer was a downtime in the prep athletic world. Just baseball and casual workouts, but the kids now know that if they want to be competitive in any sport they choose to participate in, they have to be working hard at it over the summer.

But summer's pull, the sun, the festivals, the natural tendency to take time off after a hard school year, can all take their toll on even the most dedicated of athletes.

Huebner said he didn't find that with his charges this summer.

'What we have at Germantown is that guys show up consistently,' he said. 'That's the best thing that we have going here. That gives us a real chance to build some chemistry....It's all about the philosophy. It's all about getting better.'

...99 percent of the time our kids are giving 100 percent, and that's all we ask, especially at the (high-intensity) pace we play at.'

Deep backcourt

This winter, the Warhawks will have to go without state player of the year and 7-0 center Luke Fischer, who is now working hard trying to replace Cody Zeller at Indiana University, but arguably, the Warhawks will have the deepest guard line in the state. They have talent back there in the form of the Bearden brothers (returning All-Suburban point guard Lamonte and his half-brother, Brian), Showalter's son Jake, Dearionte Hudson and the recent Menomonee Falls sophomore transfer Juwan McCloud, who was a starter and an honorable mention all-Greater Metro Conference selection this winter for the Indians.

McCloud is the younger brother of former Warhawks guard Jalen McCloud.

'I've always thought of him as a Germantown kid,' Huebner said. 'He came up through the Junilor Warhawk program. He's a very skilled player. He didn't look to step on anyone's toes. He's been very gracious the way he stepped in.'

Even one of the Warhawks two returning bigs, Evan Wesenberg, will see some time in the backcourt.

'We worked him out there some (last winter) and he seemed to take to it,' Showalter said. 'Having Evan on the perimeter is a double-bonus as far as I'm concerned.' Look for some four or maybe five guard sets out of the smaller, but possibly more talented Warhawks this winter.

And given that, if the 79-47 decision over Milwaukee Riverside in the Whiz Kids League championship on July 2 is any indicator, barring injury or any other unforeseeable event, it's going to be another long winter for the Germantown opposition.

'For one, it's good to realize that we're not going to be just a one- or two-man team,' Showalter said. 'The guys know that if things don't go as planned, there are other guys willing to step in and do the job. We can compete with our depth. We know it wears people down.'

And with that, a collective groan was heard statewide.