The Dreher project
New Fruita coach wants homecoming to be successful
Billy Dreher grabbed a pair of basketballs, then dribbled them simultaneously down the sideline, alternating dribbles with each hand.
It was just a hint of his flair for the game in one of the Fruita Monument High School boys basketball team’s first practices.
The Dreher era is here. The Wildcats’ first-year coach played basketball at Fruita, then Oklahoma State University and the University of California-Berkley — where he holds its career 3-point shooting record — before playing professionally in places such as Panama, Iceland and Louisiana.
Then he coached high school boys basketball for 10 years.
All that, and he’s only 42.
He’ll work with a Wildcats team centered around 6-foot-7 senior wing/forward Spencer Fair, likely the top big man in town.
Fruita has a 29-1 record in the Southwestern League the past three seasons, but lost a big chunk of seniors, including all-league players Drew Bridges and Alex Padgett.
The Wildcats this season will run with seven sophomores on varsity. Fair and 6-4 Matt Story will provide the Wildcats’ strength — size in the post.
Fair, in particular, has proven to Dreher an ability to step out and hit deep jumpers.
“We will definitely rely on his ability to do a lot of things for us,” Dreher said. “Not just offensively, but also defensively, he’s got to step it up. He’ll have to have big numbers for us this year.”
Story will likely be the Wildcats’ starting center and is a co-captain.
Devin Winstanley, a 5-8 junior co-captain, will likely be the Wildcats’ staring point guard and played the most minutes of any returner aside from Fair.
“We have a lot of new stuff we’re having to put in and they have to learn,” Dreher said. “I’m not saying we’re going to run or we’re going to press. We’ll be able to do that at times. We’re going to control the tempo, hopefully execute well in half-court, but at the same time, we’ll press and try some different things.”
It’s the Dreher project.
Dreher, who played under previous Wildcats coach Dave Fox at Fruita Middle School and for former coach and current Athletic Director Denny Squibb at Fruita Monument, said it always had been his dream to return to coach at Fruita if he got the chance. And he said he’s “settling down.”
Dreher estimated he’s coached 350 games in high school, college and professional leagues.
He’ll start his Fruita career with the Warrior Challenge at 3:15 p.m. today against Delta at Central High School. The Wildcats play Class 4A No. 1-ranked Lewis-Palmer on Friday and Palisade on Saturday.
“I knew coming in we probably would not be all together until sometime in January when districts roll around,” Dreher said. “And that’s fine. But obviously to get into the playoffs, the early games are just as important. We’ve got to be rolling right away — we’re trying to do that.”