Monessen boys basketball coach Bosnic finally gets building block

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Wednesday, December 1, 2021 | 1:55 PM


Surprisingly, it has taken four years, but Monessen boys basketball coach Dan Bosnic is experiencing a first this season.

A returning starter.

The Greyhounds have experienced an usual amount of turnover during Bosnic’s tenure. There have been transfers, departures, graduations and moves. Every season constitutes a fresh start at Monessen, a traditional basketball power with a trophy case full of WPIAL (eight) and PIAA (two) championship trophies to go with banners commemorating section titles.

Until now.

Senior guard/forward Cody Kuhns gives Bosnic a rare building block.

“It is tough starting over every year with a new group of players. That’s always a challenge,” said Bosnic, a former football player at Temple and basketball coach at Connellsville. “You feel like you’re always starting from scratch, but Cody Kuhns is one of those guys who just loves basketball. I can count on him to be there and to always want to play. He’s a really good passer. He’ll get the other kids involved, plus he’s capable of scoring, capable of rebounding.”

What Monessen lacks in starting experience Bosnic believes will be made up for in other areas, which is why the Greyhounds expect to improve on last season’s 10-8 record. Monessen finished second in Section 4-2A with a 7-3 mark and qualified for the WPIAL playoffs a 40th consecutive season, losing to Shenango in the first round.

“I think we’re looking better now than how we started last year,” Kuhns said. “There’s a lot of talent, a lot of athleticism, and there’s always a lot of expectations at Monessen.”

Bosnic said a strong group of leaders also is in place.

It starts with Kuhns and senior guard/forward Jack Sacco, a pair of multisport athletes. Junior forward Jaisean Blackman, a starting offensive lineman on the football team, will provide a post presence and junior guard Dante DeFelice can play either guard position.

Sophomore guards Darryl Ray and Lorenzo Gardner, junior guard Devontae Clayton and freshman guard Timmy Kershaw all are expected to receive playing time and could push for starting spots.

“We’re going to have to get up to speed fast,” said Bosnic, who picked up his 100th career coaching win last season.“One of the things I like is these kids are tough. They are willing to compete.”

Frazier won the Section 4 championship last season, but Bosnic views Jefferson-Morgan and Carmichaels — a pair of teams with senior-laden lineups — as the teams to beat.

In order to compete for another section championship, Monessen needs to do one thing in particular, according to Bosnic.

“We just need to get better throughout the course of the year, get better every day,” Bosnic said. “If we do that, we can win the section, but it won’t be easy.”

Monessen’s last section championship came in 2018-19, when it reached the PIAA semifinals.

“Winning a section championships is realistic,” Kuhns said. “Making the playoffs is the expectation, but we want to win in the playoffs. Last year, we were more defensive. This year, we’re going to be able to score more.”

Monessen boys at a glance

Coach: Dan Bosnic

Last year’s record: 10-8 (7-3 Section 4-2A)

Returning starter: Cody Kuhns (Sr., G/F)

Top newcomers: Jaisean Blackman (Jr., F), Dante DeFelice (Jr., G), Darryl Ray (So., G), Lorenzo Gardner (So. G/F), Timmy Kershaw (Fr., G), Devontae Clayton (Jr., G)

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