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THE YEAR

Eric Smith was the lone senior on the 1995 team.
Senior Starters Returning Starters
1988 4 3
1989 3 1
1990 2 2
1991 4 2
1992 2 2*
1993 2 2
1994 3 3
1995 0 1*

INTRODUCTION -- CHANGE

still the same ... coach watton... c1 ... senior

senior

Eric Smith was the only senior on the 1995 Wahoo roster. As a junior he had played primarily on the junior varsity, but had seen action in 14 varsity games and had lettered as a member of the 1994 championship team.  As a senior he was a substitute for the Warriors, playing in 25 of the Warriors' 26 games. But it was the first Wahoo team since the beginning of its championship run in 1988 that did not have a senior starter – the previous seven teams had at least two senior starters.

Would the lack of a senior starter be a significant factor in determining the success of the 1995 Warriors?  Coaches frequently tout the importance of "senior leadership."  Having seniors on the floor implies a superior level of maturity and experience.  Providing that leadership would be difficult for Smith in that he was frequently not on the floor and had limited playing experience.  Smith described his efforts as "I kind of help out, tell them to keep their heads up.  That's what the seniors did last year."  But unlike the seniors of 1994, Smith would not have the ability or opportunity to take the responsibility of performance in the way that the previous year's seniors Travis Toline, Mike Hancock, and Greg Hain, had done.  He did what he could.  Coach Watton commented that "He works hard and he gives us a spark off the bench, especially on defense."  Watton pointed out one instance when Smith came off the bench against Grand Island Central Catholic to get a key steal. 

Still, Smith's impact was minimized when comparing 1995 to the previous seasons.  Not only did those teams all have senior starters, but they all had at least one senior starter who had at least one full season of full time varsity action as an underclassman.  At the very least, the 1995 Wahoo team would have less maturity on the court.

But that didn't mean the 1995 team was totally inexperienced.  Two players returned with significant playing time as sophomores.  Josh Anderson had been a part time starter in 1994 and had averaged nearly six points per game.  Perhaps more importantly, he was a point guard and he was third best in assists (127) for the 1994 team.  Even more impressive was the experience Mike Simons brought to the team.  Simons had played on the 1993 championship team and as a starter in 1994 had averaged 13 points per game and led the team in rebounds (219).

The other players that would form the 1995 starting lineup presented more of an unknown.  But they did have some varsity experience.  With Wahoo's experience of blowing out so many opponents, underclassmen frequently played extended minutes as the starters sat down in the fourth quarter.  Such was the case for the other Wahoo starters of 1995.  Eric Eddie (24), Ryan Fiala (22), Dan Brown (17), Josh Herrmann (15) and Tyler Hix (15) had all been on the court as sophomores.

*In 1992, Joel Weyand had been a part-time starter in '91 and in 1995, Josh Anderson had been a part-time starter in '94.

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