Haase in the house: N.C. assistant to watch Reno-STHS game | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Haase in the house: N.C. assistant to watch Reno-STHS game

Steve Yingling

How big is tonight’s Reno-South Tahoe basketball game? Large enough to attract the interest of a vacationing assistant coach for the defending national champion North Carolina Tar Heels.

Jerod Haase, a third-year assistant with the Tar Heels, will be on hand when the Huskies and Vikings square off in the blue gym. Since leading the Vikings to their last Nevada state title in 1992, Haase has played for the California Golden Bears and Kansas Jayhawks and served as an assistant coach at both Kansas and North Carolina.

Finding time to see a Vikings’ game in person has been as difficult as collecting that first national title.

“It has been a while and I don’t remember it. It may have been when I was playing. Actually, it was one of coach (Tom) Orlich’s games after I graduated,” said Haase by phone, several hours before North Carolina’s game with USC on Wednesday night.

In any event, Haase has picked a prime time to return to his alma mater. South Tahoe is 8-5 and two days removed from an impressive Sierra Division-opening win at Damonte Ranch.

Reno is undefeated at 6-0 and the Huskies’ nucleus includes four Division I prospects – namely freshman Austin Morgan. The 6-foot Morgan is considered one of the top freshmen in the country, according to STHS coach Derek Allister.

Morgan, however, hasn’t triggered this rare visit.

“I’ll have to check on the legality of being there,” Haase said. “I’ll be there to enjoy myself and see everyone play as well.

“I’ll be watching my brother-in-law (Chris Holmes) coach and watching my team play.”

It may be the most-hyped game at South Tahoe High since pivotmen Curtis Johnson and David Padgett squared off as seniors three seasons ago. The 6-foot-11 Padgett now is a key performer at Louisville and the 6-8 Johnson last played at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Ore.

Allister has his most gifted South Tahoe team since he replaced Orlich six years ago. In Joel Keegan, a 6-8 transfer from Folsom, Allister has his first low-post threat since Johnson graduated. The Vikings have nice perimeter complements to Keegan in Jared Wood, Conor Freeman and K.J. Allister.

Bench play has also been a bonus for the Vikings, with Vince Capellino and Jeff Cabristante making significant contributions. Cabristante moved into a starting role last weekend.

When the Vikings have the patience to run their offense and share the basketball, they can compete with the area’s best programs.

If the Vikings play to their strengths, the will be ones catching the eye of that North Carolina assistant tonight.

– Tribune Sports Editor Steve Yingling can be reached at (530) 542-8010 or syingling@tahoedailytribune.com

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