Unselfish play has Roseville boys the surprise of the CVCBy: Nick Pecoraro
Not many people saw the Roseville Tigers having this kind of start, not even their coach.
At a Capital Valley Conference-best 8-0, the Tigers are in the Top 20 of MaxPreps’ Division II California rankings. Greg Granucci said that this is the best start to league play in his time as Roseville’s head coach, which began in 2000.
The kicker: the Tigers began the season 0-4. Roseville is now 18-6.
“I’ll be honest, I didn’t think we’d be 17-6 after starting 0-4,” said Granucci before Wednesday night's come-from-behind, resilient 66-63 victory over Antelope, “but what a great way to get there. I’m lucky to be a part of the ride.”
After that dreadful start, the fun ride began when the Tigers won 10 straight, including the Arroyo Grande Tournament in December, where they won four games in as many nights. Granucci said that was a major turning point for the team.
“I felt the team really bonded,” said Granucci. “I felt like we went down as a team, but we came back as a family.”
Their only two losses since the 10-game win streak have come to College Park of Pleasant Hill, a Top-5 D-I team in the North Coast Section, and an overtime loss to El Camino at the buzzer.
But, Granucci says, the team has bought into what the coaches are selling. He said everyone has each other’s back and all egos are checked at the gymnasium door – an environment conducive to winning.
While there are plenty of playmakers on the team, there is no single go-to guy. During the first seven league games, Jaylen Solich is averaging 15.7 points and 5.4 assists. Josh Alger goes for 12.3 points and 5.9 rebounds. Tommy Spencer and Tyler Edwards combine for nearly 15 rebounds a night and Bernie Graves causes teams headaches on the defensive end with 2.6 steals a game.
“Throw a dart,” Granucci said. “We’ve got 16 guys on our team. On game nights, we have six coaches and two managers. There are a lot of moving parts… Everybody’s engaged into what were doing; working hard, buying in, everyone has value. There isn’t one person that’s more valuable than the next person, and that includes me. It’s all about us trying to be as unselfish as we possibly can.”
And though Roseville looks the part of a team that can make a deep February run in the postseason, Granucci said the team’s not focused on the horizon.
“We understand that our biggest game is our next,” he said. “We respect everyone we play and take it one game and one day at a time.”
Roseville finishes with three of its last four regular season games on the road before hosting Inderkum in the finale.