If need be Clayton Pottinger could have most of his roster set for next season.
The RDC Kings basketball head coach could have nine players returning if everything works out.
“We have a lot of potential for returning guys, which is always a good thing, but we’re not going to be complacent,” he said.
“The guys coming back are going to have to fight for a spot. It will truly be an open tryout. We’ll see who’s out there and who we can get. That coupled with some of the recruiting we’ve already done and there will be a fight for spots.”
Pottinger will lose outstanding guards Matt Johnson and JP LeBlanc as well as all-star forward Anthony Ottley.
“There are a couple others still up in the air, but those three are gone for sure,” said Pottinger, who could have an outstanding inside game with six-foot-six Matt Matear, six-foot-nine Shayne Stumpf and six-foot-eight Dallas Hancox returning. Matear, an all-star, was the top rebounder in the division last year while Hancox led the league in blocked shots. Stumpf came at Christmas and admitted it took him most of the second half to fit in and is anxious for next season to start.
Pottinger has also received a commitment from six-foot-six Dillan Sutherland out of Memorial Comp in Stony Plain and six-foot-five Jabin Binnedyk could also be back up front.
The Kings could have two import slots filled if guards Rodney Teal and Kelvin Omojola both return, although Pottinger will head to the States in early May to run at least two camps.
Guards Michael Gini, Khurram Sultan and Spencer Klassen could also all be back, while guard Cody White out of Notre Dame has also committed for next season.
Pottinger held a high school ID camp on the weekend and has also offered a spot to six-foot-four Tyrell Lindgren out of provincial 4A champion Calgary Notre Dame.
“We’ve made some offers to a few other kids, but we’ll know more in the next few weeks,” he said.
“The recruiting window in basketball is long. In an ideal world we’d be finished in June, but I expect once again it will take until July before we know for sure.”
What Pottinger would love to have is to add the top kids out of Central Alberta. He already has White and is looking seriously at TK Kunaka of Lindsay Thurber and six-foot-four Kevin Szymanek of David Thompson.
“Kevin played with our club program last year and we like his desire and work ethic. We would love to have him here if he wants.
“It would be exciting to have those three local kids along with Dallas, Spencer and Shayne and we’d have six kids from here who will be around during the summer and could work out together.”
Over the years Pottinger, along with several other Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference teams, have recruited heavily out of Ontario.
That may change, said Pottinger.
“Recently the Ontario provincial government basically said that any household that kids come from that makes $50,000 of less would receive basically a free education. If that’s a fact it would change the recruiting landscape for a lot of institutions. There won’t be the pipeline as before if the students have to stay in Ontario.
“But really there’s a lot of good local talent in Alberta and we’ll just have to find new ways to recruit.”