TORRINGTON: It all starts for real on Tuesday night when the Raiders boys' basketball team takes on one of the Naugatuck Valley Leagues best in the Connie Donahue Gymnasium at 7 p.m.
The Crosby Bulldogs are in town for the home and season opener for Eric Gamari and his well-seasoned team that posted a 12-10 mark a year ago and are hoping for eve better things in 2017-2018.
Gamari lost one of the team's top players a year ago when Tyreek Davis transferred out of the school, but the returning group just may have an even better chemistry and make up than they might have had with the talented forward.
The Raiders are athletic, they can run, and they are even bringing back an old offense that was key during the Tony Turina days at THS when Torrington had one of the most prolific offenses in the NVL.
A year ago, Gamari was fortunate enough to go ten deep, rotating five players at times when the matchups were right.
That may not be the case this year, but he is still deep with Jordan Henneberry, Joel Villanueva and Kevin Dixon on the frontline with guards Richy Rodriguez and Dante Thomas handling the ball. That's a quality starting five but wait, there is more.
Hunter Murphy (who's shot has looked tremendous so far in pre-season action), Adrian Gonzalez (who can jump out of the gym), William Cook and Chris Jimenez are slotted to see a great deal of time this year in this fast-paced offense.
The offense, taught to the team by Turina during early season practices, is predicated on taking shots, lots of them.
90 per game is the goal. That's an NBA number if you check some box scores.
The idea is to run but there is a plan behind where each of the five on the court run to and what they are responsible for with the idea being forcing the opposition into constantly chasing but not knowing to were.
It's a work in progress at this point, getting used to any new offense takes a while and early in the year it may work against some teams and not against others.
One thing is for sure tough, don't look down often when you come to see the Raiders in action, said action may already be by you if you do.
It's a challenging opening schedule for Gamari and his team who travel to take on Waterbury Career Academy on Thursday before returning to battle St Paul on Wednesday, December 27 at home.