Four days after losing state title game in football, three Miners suited up for the basketball team
All they had were four days.
Seniors Mark McCurdy and Alex Obradovich, and sophomore Carson Tabaracci didn’t have much time to transfer their minds and bodies from football to basketball this year.
“It’s been quick, like, really quick,” Tabaracci said.
“Honestly, I don’t even know how we were able to turn things around that fast,” Obradovich added.
On Friday, Nov. 22, the trio of Miners were found on the sidelines at Rice-Eccles Stadium, taking part in the Class 4A state championship game. While the Miners would go on to lose that game to No. 2 Sky View, all three of them contributed to Park City’s historic run.
The boys didn’t have as much time to reflect on that loss as most of their teammates did, as the following day they were prepping for the first game of the basketball season. Park City traveled down to face Snow Canyon, the Miners’ opponent in the quarterfinals of the 4A football playoffs, winning their season opener 59-51..
“It’s pretty weird to think we got done playing football on a Friday and were then on a bus traveling for a basketball game four days later,” Obradovich said “But it was fun, it was a lot of fun to just be back playing basketball. … Being with the team was cool and it’s got me really excited for the upcoming season.”
Since that game, the boys have had ample practice time to get acclimated to their teammates. Going through the grind of practices has helped the boysfoster a certain type of bond and camaraderie that coach Thomas Purcell believes will pay dividends later on in the season.
“I really want to see the guys having fun and working hard, which is possible to do simultaneously,” Purcell said. “The beginning of the season is the dog days where there are lots of practices and very few games and I don’t want to see them get bored. I want them to be working really hard, but also want to see them lift one another up during these tough times.”
McCurdy is the biggest returner for Purcell, as he’s been a captain since his sophomore season. The 6-foot-1 guard, who led the team in shots taken last season, is the Miners’ best returning player after averaging 11.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game last season.
Obradovich gives the Miners a lot of size down low, as the 6-foot-4 power forward credits football this past season to making him a better basketball player. While he didn’t play football the previous year, Obradovich believes that all of the work he put in the weight room for football is going to translate well to basketball.
“I’ll for sure be better prepared for the long season and how physical it will get, especially moving up a division,” Obradovich says. “It helped make me a better athlete overall, just being more explosive and stronger.”
Obradovich, although his stats are small in sample size, led the Miners in three-point percentage last season by knocking down 37 percent of his shots. He also averaged 7.2 points and finished second on the team with 5.2 rebounds per game.
For Tabaracci more minutes are expected as the 6-foot-2 guard possess the size, strength and athleticism to play and defend well from the wing position. But for him, after seeing minutes last season as a freshman, Tabaracci is just excited to be back in the court.
“It’s great, definitely a lot more enjoyable for me this season because I’ve already been through the system for a year so I understand it,” Tabaracci said. “I know the coaches more and I know the level of play that they expect, what other teams are going to play and what I should expect of myself.”
The multi-sport athletes attended open gyms throughout the football season, so that their basketball skills would stay sharp.
“I never lost my touch because I never really stopped shooting,” Obradovich said. “I got shots up constantly, and I’m guessing they did the same because you could tell we were all ready to come out and start playing.”
Despite the first win of the season, the three boys say finding comfort in each other and going through the struggles of switching from one sport to another has been made easier by doing it together.
All were quick to say that they were in great football shape but had a ways to go to get into good basketball shape.
“It’s so much easier because you kind of go through that grind of extra sprints and such together,” Tabaracci said. “None of us were in basketball shape when we started, but we are slowly getting our cardio back which has us feeling good every day.”
A small blessing for the boys was that following that quick turnaround, the Miners will have had two weeks off prior to their next game. Park City faces Morgan next Tuesday in its home opener, with tipoff set for 7 p.m.
It’s a game the boys are looking forward too. Not only is it their first time playing in front of their home crowd since the football game, it’s the first the fans will get to see what this team is all about.
“Obviously in the past this program hasn’t been where we’ve wanted it to be,” Obradovich said. “But this year I’m really optimistic with the new coach and everything. … This year we are taking the steps to turn it around and I think we will do that.”
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Dave Hanscom announced last month he was retiring as volunteer race director of the Wasatch Citizens Series after 30 years in the position.