MORGANTOWN, W.Va – The University High School boys basketball team is just three years removed from a state championship but the Hawks are in a position to reload the roster after losing four seniors that made up most of the starting lineup for the majority of the 2021-22 season. Now, head coach Joe Schmidle is taking the three-week summer practice period to change up his team’s style. With leading scorer Aaron Forbes no longer manning the boards, The U looks like its ready to shift to a more fast-paced, guard-oriented style in the winter.

“Building the chemistry and learning how to play a little bit of a different style of basketball this year are going to be the key factors,” he said, “The last three or four years, we’ve had some really skilled big guys and we’re going to be a lot smaller this year so we’ll probably do a lot more pressing and playing a little bit of a faster pace, a lot more guard-oriented.”

One of the key pieces in that change of style for the Hawks will be junior point guard Rafael Barcinas who is set to step into a bigger role with the backcourt departures of Diego Reyes, Elija Jackson and Grant Cavalier. He says that seeing the success of the University basketball program has had during the last few years, including the standout guard play that helped bring home a state title, is a big motivator for this new crew of players.

“Really, like, trying to fill those big shoes, they had Kaden Metheny and stuff, great guards,” he said, “Just working out with him and stuff is showing me what’s possible and we could win a state championship. That’s really motivating.”

University returns four seniors this year that played roles off the bench a year ago and Barcinas is joined in a strong junior class by James Garbart and Carson Ford who Schmidle is looking at to be long-term leaders for his team moving forward.