Mt. Carmel basketball coach Tyler Buss admits it’s a challenge getting his young team ready for the season ahead.

“It’s starting over in terms of our offense,” he said. You can add defense and everything else as well, because the Aces, after losing
four starters to graduation and the lone returnee, Levi Laws, to a torn ACL (for perhaps half of the 2014-15 season), had a new
breed of starters on the court Thursday in a Hilltop scrimmage against Kankakee, coached by former Aces coach Ronnie Wilcox.

“We really haven’t put any offense in,” Buss said while watching the fast pace his team employed. “We’ll worry about some of the half-court sets in early November.”

All things considered, the Aces looked impressive, winning one of three 20-minute scrimmages against the Class 3A Kays, with an enrollment of almost 1,200.

“We competed,” Buss said. “After we got over the initial shock of how athletic they were, we did a good job of handling the ball. We got better as we went on.”

All eyes were on incoming freshman Jackson Marcotte, who at 6-foot-5 will be asked to step right in as a probable starter.

He looks more than ready for the challenge.

“(Marcotte) is going to get better and better,” said Buss of the Allendale grad. “It’s such a big jump anyway, from eighth grade to high school, then throw in the fact that he was playing against a lot of small schools, and now he’s playing against some of the bigger schools.”

Buss lauded his seniors for doing a “good job of accepting him and getting him acclimated.”

One of the seniors-to-be, guard Sam Deisher, also appears capable of stepping into Laws’ playmaker/scorer role.

“A lot of our guys haven’t experienced being the main ballhandler because Levi’s done that for the last three years,” Buss said.

Deisher’s role enhancement “will help his game with Levi gone, which will make us even more dynamic when he gets back.”

Wilcox, while crafting a Kankakee team which returns three starters from last year, liked what he saw from the Aces.

“They’re going to be good again. Even without (Laws) I was impressed with what I saw,” Wilcox said. “Marcotte is going to be a load. When Levi gets back, you’ll have a lot of boys who learned to fill his shoes when he was gone.”

Mt. Carmel leaves Sunday for a four-day camp at Wisconsin Dells, Wisc.

The Kays, who began their summer season with a trip to Kentucky Lake, will play at a shootout at Vincennes University today (Friday).