Silver Lake boys excited about full 8-team tournament
The name Kruger is synonymous with Silver Lake.
Plenty of Krugers have come and gone through the halls of SLHS, one of whom has returned to coach the Eagles boys basketball team.
Shannon Kruger leads Silver Lake in his second season at his alma mater.
Lon Kruger, Shannon's uncle, played at Kansas State and later coached the Wildcats in the 1980s. He also had stints at Florida and Illinois before heading to the NBA and the Atlanta Hawks. He now is coaching at UNLV.
Another uncle, Dave Kruger, was a kicker for the K-State football team, while Shannon's father, Mike, played baseball at K-State. Another uncle, Jerry, played baseball at Butler County and coached Shannon at Silver Lake.
After a year as a graduate assistant at Washburn, where he played basketball, Kruger took the helm at SLHS in the fall of 2003.
"Obviously I wanted to stay around the game and love Silver Lake," Kruger said. "And timing was pretty nice there."
In Kruger's first year last season, the Eagles finished the year at 12-9 after losing to Mission Valley in the first round of a Class 3A substate tournament.
This season, Kruger's team is 3-5 early on. An overall young team, Silver Lake had to replace leading scorers Scott Haverkamp and -- you guessed it -- another Kruger in Shannon's brother, Kyle. Haverkamp red-shirted at Kansas for the Jayhawk football team last fall, while Kyle Kruger now is playing football at Washburn.
As for this year's Eagles, Austin Urban, Tanner Fritz and Eric Ure are Silver Lake's top returners.
"There's definitely been some younger guys trying to figure out what we're looking for," Kruger said.
Although the team is young, the squad also is athletic.
"We've got the type of team that can get up and down the court pretty good," Kruger said.
The second-year head coach also said rebounding was a team strength, but the Eagles, at this point, are not a very good shooting team. Right now, offensive efficiency is a concern for SLHS.
This week's Tonganoxie Invitational will be Silver Lake's first visit to the long-standing tourney.
In previous years, the Eagles played in just a four-team tournament with Riley County, Holton and Wamego.
Kruger is eager for his team to participate in a full eight-team bracket.
"We're pretty excited about seeing some different teams, different schools and actually an eight-team tournament like at substate," Kruger said.
"That was the biggest reason I was looking forward to it."