Grosse Pointe North senior Troy Herd drives to the basket in a game against Warren Mott Dec. 13. At press time, the Norsemen were 1-3 overall and 0-1 in MAC White play.

Grosse Pointe North senior Troy Herd drives to the basket in a game against Warren Mott Dec. 13. At press time, the Norsemen were 1-3 overall and 0-1 in MAC White play.

Photo by Donna Agusti


North boys hoops ready to compete in MAC White

By: Zachary Manning | Grosse Pointe Times | Published December 18, 2018

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GROSSE POINTES — Teaching is everything for Grosse Pointe North boys basketball coach Andrew Ayrault.

In his first year as coach of the Norsemen, he’s trying to teach his players how to play a more relaxed and solid brand of basketball. At press time, North was 1-3 overall and 0-1 in the Macomb Area Conference White Division.

“Having them understand that if they get to the right place, they’ll be open. If they make the right cut, if they back screen correctly. All of those little detail things that they’ve never been really shown how to do, so that teaching part of it is pretty important,” Ayrault said.

Even with the slow start, Ayrault knows his team is talented enough to turn things around. He noted that by mid-January, his team would be a lot better than what it’s shown so far.

Ayrault noted that the strength of his team is length, but he’d like to see his players get adjusted to the speed of the varsity level and use that length to their advantage.

“We’re very tall, very long, as a whole. That’s, sort of, not the norm in the league. It’s more guard oriented, so it’s just going to take a little bit of adjustment to get used to that and figure out how we best play that brand of basketball and how we make other people play us,” Ayrault said.

Some players who have helped Ayrault push the less experienced players are Troy Herd, Joe Ayrault, Ryan Webb and Joey Rheaume. Webb and Ayrault were All-League performers last season, while Herd and Rheaume have been able to showcase great leadership qualities.

As the four senior captains of the team, their main goal is to make sure the team is working together to reach the goals it has set. They are constantly pushing the younger guys to get better in practice every day.

“I try to be a little bit more physical during practices. Body them up a little bit, make sure they’re ready for that contact when they get into varsity games,” Webb said. “And making sure they communicate, because being vocal is always a key for basketball. If you’re not vocal, then you’re going to get killed, so I try and make it a point of emphasis to be as vocal as you can.”

Once his team starts to play the brand of basketball he wants it to play, Andrew Ayrault said, his team will be able to give opponents trouble and can compete for a district title.

The Norsemen haven’t won a district title since 2009, and being able to bring a championship back to North would be special for this group of guys.

“It would mean a lot to go far, do something special (my) senior year, leave some good memories here,” Rheaume said.  

North’s next game is at 7 p.m. Dec. 21 against New Haven High at home.

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