Stay humble, stay hungry.
The fewer times coach Bruce Chubick has to remind his Omaha South players of that, the better their season is going.
“It's about knowing how to handle their success,” Chubick said. “We've gone from the hunter to the hunted. That's a whole different ballgame.”
After a practice this week, the Packers got a 10-minute earful from the veteran of 35 years of coaching. His son, former Husker Bruce Chubick Jr., knew what Dad was up to.
“Bruce said, 'You're trying to keep them grounded, not let them get cocky and overconfident,' ” the elder Chubick said. “That's why we're saying, 'Stay humble, stay hungry.' ”
With few graduation losses, the Packers are an experienced team that looks to go against the grain and play up-tempo basketball. They scored 76 points in one half last weekend against Elkhorn in an exhibition. Their season high in 2011-12 was 77 points, and they averaged 56.
“I like what I see,” the elder Chubick said. “The guys bought into the weights and the plyometric training, and it's made a ton of difference. They're doing things I've never seen high school kids do, and I've seen a lot of kids through my years.
“We want to run. We want to make it a track meet. We think we have 10 guys who can play. I don't think we'll go to the extremes of (former Iowa coach) Tom Davis or Grinnell (College). We'll stop short of that.”
Four of last season's starters in the 55-38 loss to Omaha Central in the state championship game are back. The only senior in that group, Cam Williams, averaged a team-high 18 points a game after joining the Packers in midseason. The juniors are guards Tyler Hall and James Dumes and center Kevin Harkins.
Now consider who else the Packers will have this season: Bobby Lage, limited by injuries, was their No. 2 scorer. Lyle Hexom, who was off the team starting in late January, is back after a strong summer in club ball. Arop Arop is a 6-foot-6 transfer from Bellevue West.
“Tyler would get my all-state vote for defense alone,” Chubick said. “I bet Trey Moore (Papillion-La Vista) and Jalen Bradley (Norfolk) would have voted for him, too, after what he did to them at state last year.”
Hexom, for his untapped potential, could be the X factor that pushes the Packers much closer to Central.
“I'm happy with his progress and his commitment,” Chubick said. “I see a different level of commitment in everyone. They've put a lot in, and I hope they get the rewards.”
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