All hands on deck |

All hands on deck

Christopher Kamrani, Of the Record staff

Greatness sometimes means sacrificing for the greater good.

As players desperately sprinted, exhaling every precious breath left after a grueling two-hour practice, teammates encouraged one another to push themselves to make themselves great.

The Park City boys’ basketball team has a few goals this upcoming season, one of which is achieving greatness; the other two being playing tenacious defense and winning a Region 10 title.

Head coach Caleb Fine has preached sacrifice and work ethic to his team as it prepares for its season-opener Tuesday against North Summit in Coalville.

"The nice thing about this year from last year is that the kids finally know what they’re doing," said the second-year head coach. "We are so far ahead compared to last year. But our goals are not last year."

As goes the saying, "a coach is never truly satisfied," and Fine said after Monday’s practice he will lose a few hours of sleep after seeing his team struggle through much of the session.

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"This team has a chance to be very good," he said. "But practices will make or break this team."

Fine runs practices with authority, but is able to connect with his players, relaying to them what they need to do on both sides of ball.

He knows the ability of his team, sees a unique opportunity, and doesn’t want it go to waste.

This year’s Miners will be one of the most athletic teams the school has ever seen.

With returning starters such as Britton Buford, and Brian and Jono Schettler, Park City will not be short of talent. And other players are continually bettering themselves on the court, Fine’s roster is, in his words, "stacked" with ability. Park City is returning nearly 70 percent of its scoring this season,.

"This team can be one of the best teams Park City High School has ever had," Fine said. "I’m a strong believer in that."

He singled out the emerging of players like Jordan Ruda, Heath Vincent and Brae Dilley as kids who will see significant minutes this season and will be asked to help carry the load.

Expectations surrounding this team are high in part of the progress made last year, Fine’s first as a head coach.

Two years ago, Park City won just two games.

But Fine’s bunch upped its win total to 12 last season, finishing with a 12-10 record, losing a tight first-round game against Cedar in last year’s 3A tournament.

"Nothing is guaranteed," Fine said. "We know what we want to be."

What they want to be is a decisive defensive team that pesters opposing offenses and creates turnovers. They want to be a run-and-gun team that gets out on the fast break, and is a treat for fans to watch.

"That’s the type of team that we are," Fine said. "I want to punish teams on the defensive end."

One welcome problem Fine has this preseason is team depth.

The Miners are deep at virtually every position with seniors, juniors and sophomores, and features versatility on all fronts. For example, Fine said Dilley will play anywhere from shooting guard to small forward to power forward to center this season.

When asked if his rotation is nailed down yet, Fine said that it’s too early to tell; he said he would currently throw out five or six starting combinations he could be comfortable with.

Tuesday’s opener at North Summit is a viable first test for this team, too.

"If the kids do the right things in practice, we’ll be prepared," Fine said. "But it’s a lot bigger than North Summit. This is just the first of 21."

Players continued to run sprints in Monday’s practice, preparing for what will come this year. Teammates continued to root for one another on and celebrated when the last man crossed the line at the end of practice.

"We’re going to be in better shape than most teams," Fine deadpanned.

As for the end goal, the Miners have a long season ahead of them, but will not take their eyes off the prize.

"Our goal is to win a region championship. That’s our goal," Fine said. "You’ve got to stay lucky; you’ve got to stay healthy. Some shots are going to have to fall, some balls are going to have to bounce your way, but you do create your own luck."