Deep, experienced Staples boys basketball ready to contend in FCIAC

After going 25-9 over the past two seasons, the Staples boys basketball team enters this season with more of an expectation to see themselves in the top half of the FCIAC.

The Wreckers enter the 2021-22 season after finishing their COVID-impacted 2020-21 season 11-3. In the eyes of head coach Colin Devine, his team’s recent success has been a product of the previous players that have come through the program.

“Two years ago, we had really good leadership and finished in the top four of the league,” Devine said. “The seniors this year were sophomores back then and saw what it took to compete in the top four in the FCIAC. They’re really looking forward for it to be their turn to lead us deep into the season.”

Of those now-seniors, standouts such as Derek Sale and Ryan Thompson will lead a team that is composed of six captains and an upperclassmen-heavy roster. Sale comes off a season in which his play landed him on the All-FCIAC First-Team. Devine points to Sale to be one of the main keys to the team’s success both on and off the court.

Along with Sale, Thompson will be a focal point of the Staples offense as the point guard, like his role on the football team. As an all-league quarterback, Thompson led Staples to one win shy from making the state playoffs.

Devine calls this season’s roster one of the deepest he has had in the 15 seasons he has been at Staples. The depth of his roster will match up against one of the deepest leagues the FCIAC has had in recent memory.

“We’ve always been tough to prepare for. This is probably the deepest team I’ve had here. We can go eight or nine guys deep,” Devine said. “I told the guys that this is probably the most depth the league has had in a while. The league got better from last year, there are probably six or seven teams that can compete for the title.”

Staples will begin its season on Dec. 21 at home against Joel Barlow, followed by a meeting with Immaculate. With the depth that Staples has this season, Devine believes a challenging non-conference slate will prepare his team well once they make their way into conference play.

“They are ready for the challenge, it’s a good opportunity to give experience for the kids moving forward,” Devine said.

With a hopefully full schedule on the docket this year, Devine hopes the dedication from his team regardless of the circumstances will be rewarded with a full season.

“We dealt with a lot of adversity as a program and as a school. The kids really rallied together. This year, everyone’s been impacted by COVID in some way. With the way the kids have been committed over the past 20 months, they deserved some sort of a normal schedule. We’ve got a lot more people excited about basketball.”