Wildcats' goal to get better every game
photo: pre_basketcity
Jeff Dishman

By Rick Peterson
The Capital-Journal

Taking over a program that won just two games last season, new Hayden boys basketball coach Jeff Dishman knows that he can't expect too much too soon.

What Dishman can expect is steady progress.

"I told them the other day in practice that we've got to try to get better every day," Dishman said. "You can go over to K-State football and Coach (Bill) Snyder, if you listen to him talk, he talks about trying to get better every day. That's what they go after and that's what we're going to try to do.

"I told the guys that whether we win or lose, I want to make sure that we see improvement and keep working at it."

After finishing second in Class 4A in 2001, Hayden struggled mightily last season. Still, Dishman thinks that last year's experience could benefit his Wildcats in the long run.

"The bad thing about losing is some people never learn from losing," said Dishman, a former player at The University of Kansas. "You can learn from losing, you can learn from winning. Some people get down on themselves, but if you take it in stride and learn from it, you can make things happen."

Senior Jarod Tetuan, the Wildcats' second-leading scorer last season at 6.8 points a game, is back, as is junior point guard Adam Head.

Dishman also inherited several other players with varsity experience, including seniors Keith Barkemeyer, Scott Wempe, Brad Grabar, Mark Bartuccio and Jeremy Hendrickson.

Dishman also will try several other underclassmen in the early going as he tries to get an idea of what his team can, and can't, do.

"We're going to have to play different combinations," he said. "I've got to get a read on them. I can get all the reads I want in practice, but you've got to see how they perform in game situations and who plays well with other people. It will take some time."

So far, effort hasn't been a problem, according to Dishman.

"The kids are working great," he said. "They've got a great attitude, they're busting their tails. We've made some pretty good strides.

"We've got a long way to go, but they've taken to how I want to play and what we want to do and they're performing pretty well right now."

Dishman, a former head coach at Mission Valley, is back on a high school bench for the first time in 10 seasons, but he said that returning to coaching has not been a major adjustment.

"I've been around basketball," he said. "I helped some Washburn players in the summer, doing some individual stuff, and I've been coaching my kid's team for a while. I've stayed close to Emporia State and Washburn and Wichita State and KU, so I really haven't felt like I've been away from it that much."

The Wildcats will make their debut under Dishman on Dec. 10, traveling to Sabetha.