December 6, 2013

Boys’ basketball preview: Ins and outs have Greely reaching high

Strong under the boards and from the outside, the Rangers seem poised to contend for the title.

By Tom Chard tchard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

CUMBERLAND — Mike McDevitt wants to keep his emotions better in check this season. Bailey Train wants to be more than a one-dimensional player. Together, they’ll keep an eye on each other to help make it happen.

click image to enlarge

Wing Bailey Train is one of Western Maine’s top 3-point shooters and while he doesn’t want to be one-dimensional, he’ll launch lots of long shots this winter.

Photos by John Ewing/Staff Photographer

Center Mike McDevitt, all 6-foot-7 of him, is a force inside and with Greely’s overall balance, opposing defenses are certain to have their hands full.

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That’s what teammates do. They look out for one another.

As another high school basketball season starts across the state Friday night, the Greely High standouts are looking to complement each other, facilitate their teammates and make the Rangers a state title contender.

McDevitt, a 6-foot-7 center, and Train, a 6-foot-4 wing player, have the potential to form a strong inside-outside scoring combination in their senior season. They’ve given samples of it over the past two seasons.

McDevitt is a force inside and Train is one of the top 3-point shooters in Western Maine Class B. The combination can be powerful and a headache for defenses.

While the pair could carry the Rangers during games, they are by no means the only weapons the team has. Connor Hanley is a 6-foot-4 forward who can score. Coach Travis Seaver calls Hanley “the team’s most athletic player.” Hanley comes off an outstanding football season.

At 6-foot-5, Kyle Woods is another inside scorer and rebounder. The point guard, Patrick O’Shea, is 6-foot-2.

That’s right, the Rangers can have a starting five of players 6-foot-2 and up. That could mean matchup problems for teams. With another year’s maturity under their belts, Greely is anxious to get things started.

“If we all come together and play as a team, we could go deep into the tournament,” said McDevitt.

“But if we play selfishly and for ourselves, there are definitely teams that can beat us. There’s going to be some good competition and close games,” he said.

With Train’s 3-point range and McDevitt’s post moves, defenses won’t be able to collapse in the middle.

“If Bailey’s man doubles down on me, he’s going to have a wide open 3,” said McDevitt. “His shooting can carry us in games.”

Conversely, if the defense sags on McDevitt and the other Rangers near the basket, Train can loosen it up.

And another advantage of having a tall team?

“We have the size to see over the zone,” said McDevitt. “We have four players who can interchange around the post. We all can handle the ball. I don’t feel we have a weak area.”

McDevitt and Train got their college decisions out of the way before the season, which they said lifted a weight off their shoulders. McDevitt signed to play basketball at Franklin Pierce College, a Division II school in Rindge, N.H. Train signed to play baseball at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst

“I didn’t want to have to worry about impressing someone,” said McDevitt of college coaches.

Last year was frustrating for Greely. The Rangers came in looking to challenge favorites Falmouth and York, but graduation losses in the backcourt proved too much. The Rangers lost to York in the tournament quarterfinals, finishing 10-10.

“Last year we got caught up with our individual games,” said Train.

“During preseason, we’ve built good team chemistry and everyone was learning their roles,” he said.

Train said he wants to shed his reputation as just a 3-point shooter.

“I’ll be looking to go to the rim so they won’t face guard me all the time,” he said.

Train will look to balance his penchant for shooting 3s with what’s best for the team. Asked how many 3s he took last season, Train said: “A lot.”

“Mike will keep me in check,” he said.

And McDevitt will look to be more patient with his teammates.

“Last year, I was critical of the turnovers our backcourt made,” he said. “I’m going to be more supportive of my teammates. I’m going to focus on being the leader my team needs.”

Said Train: “I’ll keep Mike in check and levelheaded.”

Seaver knows that McDevitt and Train feed off each other.

“They’re very important for each other’s success,” he said. “Mike and Bailey have been together for a long time. Mike is an intense player and much improved. Bailey has an easygoing personality, but he’s one of the most competitive players I’ve seen. He’s a good sounding board and liaison for the coaches.”

One 6-foot-7 player tossing the ball to his 6-foot-4 teammate back and forth as they work their inside-out game. That sounds like a winning combination.

“It’s a good situation to have,” said Seaver.

Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at:

tchard@pressherald.com

Twitter: TomChardPPH

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