Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Monday, Dec. 6, 2010 | 2:05 a.m.
Coronado coach Jeff Kaufman is quick to point out the biggest difference between this year’s Cougars and last year’s squad.
“We’re a much more intense team,” Kaufman said. “We’re much more focused.”
That usually comes with returning the bulk of the roster. Although the Cougars lost last year’s leading scorer and rebounder Brandon Glanz to graduation, virtually everyone else is back.
Nelson led the division with nine assists per game last year and also averaged 17 points and six steals. Kaufman said Nelson arrived at Coronado primarily as a distributor, but has expanded his offensive skill set each year.
“He’s gotten better and better,” he said. “Not only that, but he makes the people around him better. He’s a threat all over the floor.”
Kaufman wasn’t ready to anoint Nelson as the sole player the Cougars will look toward for big shots down the stretch of games. He thinks Coronado has enough talent to spread that role around.
The Cougars other senior leader is forward Adam Schmitt, who earned Honorable Mention All-Conference honors last year after averaging 10 points and nine rebounds. Coronado also could lean on 6-foot-8 junior Michael Louder in the post.
Louder is one of four juniors who contributed significantly last year as sophomores.
“We always had that one big guy to bail us out and get us a bucket last year,” Kaufman said. “We’ve got to go to a few of our young big guys now. We’re going to need some of those guys.”