The Helena Capital boys basketball roster is a bit inexperienced this season, losing many of its key contributors from the past two seasons. This year head coach Guy Almquist is calling on Brayden Koch and Malachi Syvrud to help lead his squad and, though it’s early, Almquist thinks the two are stepping into the role nicely.
“I think they've done a good job on the court. Both of them are somewhat quiet individuals, they've become a little bit more verbal this year. Doesn't need to be yelling and screaming, but you just need to be verbal. People need to hear your voice. And, you know, I think the biggest thing is our young guys respect both," said Almquist. "There's mutual respect and these guys are doing a great job so far.”
Koch and Syvrud are the only two returning varsity players for the Bruins this year, and with the COVID-19 pandemic shuttering opportunities to integrate some chemistry this year, Syvrud said getting the guys up to varsity speed has been difficult.
“Showing them what it takes to play the varsity game, coming from JV and sophomore and even the freshman team last year. This pace is a lot quicker, so we need to show them, kind of tell them what it was going to be like, help them,” said Syvrud.
For Koch, who’s only a junior headed into this season, the leadership mentality doesn’t come naturally, but it’s a work in progress.
"Once we lost all those guys I kind of have to build up that leadership role. And I've been building since like summer," said Koch. "Still working on it, but we're getting there."
Though the Bruins may not have a clear-cut path to success this season, Almquist believes they’ll carve one out as they navigate through it.
“We've got good players. They're taking that time. And I think that from the beginning of the season till the end, you'll see this team grow a lot because of it," Almquist said.
Koch and Syvrud will continue to build that leadership throughout the season, and their next test will come in the form of Missoula Sentinel on Saturday.