An influx of sophomore talent and significant depth have allowed Croton to reduce the impact of losing 6-foot-5 Patrick Gallagher this off-season. Gallagher, the team's top scoring threat last season, transferred to a prep school this summer.
The Tigers appear to be filling the loss by committee.
A new group, bolstered by discipline and attacking in waves and waves, is off to a promising 3-0 start following a 66-35 slaying of MLK earlier this week.
While longtime head coach Bill Thom has reloaded and rebuilt around new blood, the Tigers have discovered a quiet senior leader in 5-foot-8 guard Connor Thomann.
Though soccer may be his true calling card, Thomann has found his niche as a calming influence with the ball in his hands.
The senior was poised down the stretch of the Tigers' 54-47 come-from-behind win over Alexander Hamilton in the Elmsford Classic.
After dealing out five assists in a win over John Jay the previous night, Thomann connected on all four timely shots as the Tigers overcame a third quarter deficit. He drilled a deep 3-pointer, a long jumper to beat the third quarter buzzer, and a nifty Euro step layup amid swarming hands.
Patience, perseverance, and poise have been three traits synonymous with the gritty guard.
He's had to ditch his demure side in high-pressure moments, as the onus is on Thomann and fellow veteran T.J. Searight to take game management issues into their own hands.
"He returned from a mild-mannered Connor Thomann into Superman and just took over the game," Thom said.
"He's the kind of kid you'd love to have as a son. He's polite, hard-working, does well in school and is just an all-around great kid."
A three-year varsity player and honor student, Thomann's workmanlike and unassuming style sets a precedent for this young core.
Thom said he's capable of playing 11-12 guys comfortably, an advantage he hasn't had in recent memory. Thomann's work ethic and introverted style has earned him the nickname "Clark Kent" from his coaching staff. He may not have the flashy side to his game, but the battle-tested senior finds a way to get it done.
Thomann On Team Identity
One of the unique things about our team is we have a lot of depth, we carry a lot of guys. There's always an overall team effort and so far we've had overall team wins. On this team, anyone can step up on any given moment. We just played freely and stepped up on defense en route to the wins.
On Young Blood
We've got a lot of good underclassmen that could play. They want to step up right away. Coach Thom's trying to build a program and a foundation for the future. So, we're going in the right direction. We're 3-0 right now. We're a very disciplined team and we look to play tough defense and get out quickly on offense. We've got a hard schedule and I think it looks good for us.
On Future Plans
I'm more of a soccer guy. I love playing basketball but I think towards the future I'm looking to maybe walk on to a team. I like Boston College. That's my top school as of right now. I'm waiting to hear back. We'll see how that turns out.