It's no secret that the Darien boys basketball team has had to endure a difficult run in recent seasons. In fact, Darien's 3-17 record in 2010-11 represented team's highest win total since the Blue Wave finished 6-14 in 2006-07. But with the incremental improvements made last season, especially after consecutive one-win campaigns, the Darien boys basketball team is entering the 2011-12 season with a new sense of optimism and purpose.
Because of the program's recent struggles, it would be easy to label the Blue Wave as a team in a "rebuilding stage," but second year coach Kyle Marian doesn't quite see it that way.
"Three wins is a huge step compared to where they had been in the years before. From a record standpoint, it doesn't look good, but for what we're doing as a program, it's positive," Seaberg said. "I wouldn't even call it a `rebuilding' thing because we don't have a lot to rebuild to. We're building. The keys to this year are just being disciplined, both offensively and defensively and making teams have to play our style of basketball. Having low turnovers and creating turnovers will be keys."
Darien's 2010-11 campaign started promisingly enough, as a surprising upset on the road against Trumbull evened the Blue Wave's mark at 1-1. However, that was followed by a 10-game losing streak, including several in highly-competitive games.
Just a few days into the team's practices, captain Matt Lee already likes what he sees as Darien attempts to build off of last season.
"Last year, we took some steps forward. It was Coach's first year, and this year we're really building off of that," Lee said. "We're executing really well and we're retaining what Coach is saying. We're all making each other better and there's a general great atmosphere in the gym."
Darien already suffered a big loss, as captain Geoff Leeker is out for the season after tearing his ACL during the Fall Ball season. Even so, Seaberg credited Leeker and Lee for taking the initiative to organize player activities during the offseason.
"You can see the cohesion already. There's a chemistry that's going on, and that's a big credit to my captains," Seaberg said. "There has been a problem with this program, and they're all part of the solution right now, and they all know that. The FCIAC is almost like the Big East, and we understand that, but we also understand that there are teams out there that we can beat."
In order to catch up to the pack in the FCIAC, Darien is relying on its strong team chemistry and a willingness to outwork its opponents.
"We've got plenty of returners, we know the system and we're a very close knit group of guys," Lee said. "I think it was just a matter of getting used to Coach's system. It was his first year, and we had a lot of new things to learn. We had some bad habits that we had to eliminate."