Minutemen May Open Without Starting Center

Posted: December 14, 1986

Washington Township High coach Skip Given will have several players returning from last season's 17-9 team. However, Given may be missing Jeff Edwards, the Minutemen's 6-foot-3 senior center, for several games.

"We don't know how long Jeff will be out," Given said. "He has a cartilage problem in his knee. We're not sure if he's going to need arthroscopic knee surgery. I'm not going to say definitely, but I don't think he'll be with us when the season begins (Friday against Lenape)."

If Edwards isn't ready to play, Given will be banking on 6-4 senior forward Steve Headley and 6-2 junior guard Craig Harper to provide the offensive fireworks.

"We'll look to them to carry us offensively," Given said. "They're both pretty good scorers. Steve and Craig were starters last year. They're both capable of rising to the occasion."

Washington Township will have some marvelous players in the backcourt - such as 5-8 senior Kevin Kulikowski, 5-8 senior Jerry Donohue, 5-10 junior Wayne Parker and 6-2 junior John Gianforte.

The Minutemen's backcourt is not blessed with spectacular players, but they're all steady performers.

"We're not very tall in the backcourt," Given said. "Our kids are very fundamentally sound. They do what they have to do to win basketball games. Wayne Parker is our most explosive player. He can do some exciting things in the open court.

"Kevin Kulikowski is a great leaper and jump shooter. He should have a fine year offensively. Jerry Donohue is a good ball-handler. He has great court awareness. He should be one of our top reserves.

"John Gianforte can play extremely well inside. He's also a very fine wing player. The most impressive thing about him is his aggressive rebounding. He can really control the boards."

Washington Township has power players inside in 6-2 senior Dan Barbar and 6-3 senior Ken Murphy. Given will utilize his talent around the basket.

"We have some good post-up players," Given said. "Danny goes very hard to the basket. He's a great passer, too. He's the kind of player who can see the entire floor. Kenny plays a very tough game. He likes the contact in the lane. They both should have big years offensively."

The Minutemen will face stiff competition the first month of the season in such foes as Camden Catholic, Lenape, John F. Kennedy, Edgewood and Gloucester Catholic.

"It's going to be important for us to play well early," Given said. "We want to be competitive with these teams. We don't want to lose most of these games. We would like to pick up a few wins.

"We want to have some confidence going into our regular-season schedule in the Olympic American Conference. We're going to have some rough games against Camden and Cherry Hill East. They come to play every game. That's going to be our philosophy," he said.

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