Colby Butczynski was the only underclassmen named to the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 first-team all-stars by NEPABasketball.com last season.
Butczynski returns, along with second-team division all-star Jake Krupinski to provide the on-floor leadership for the Nanticoke Trojans, who will be operating this season under the guidance of Zach Pienkta, who has moved up from assistant coach with John Beggs missing the season for health reasons.
Beggs was NEPABasketball.com’s choice as division Coach of the Year each of the past two seasons when Nanticoke won titles.
The return of Butczynski and Krupinski, along with some key role players, makes Nanticoke the top-ranked Big School boys team in the preseason Astra Wealth Advisors Super Six Power Rankings of District 2 teams. Butczynski is a senior and Krupinski is a junior.
The Trojans will be put to the test with the WVC’s move from three to two divisions pushing the Trojans into Division 1.
“We graduated some very good players last year, but our returning guys have been working hard and competing at every practice,” Pientka said. “We will focus on building and growing as a team throughout the season.”
Nanticoke finished 22-8 after a busy postseason in 2018-19.
The Trojans won Division 2 in a playoff, putting them in the first WVC overall playoffs where they won once before losing in the title game. Nanticoke then made it to the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza where it finished as District 2 Class 4A runner-up. It won a first-round Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association game before going out in the second round of the state playoffs.
Junior J.J. Bielecki and senior Andy Kozlofski played many important minutes along the way.
Juniors Luke Myers, Sincere Shiloh and Joe Fox and senior Collin Brown also got considerable varsity experience.
Senior Tyler Rushton and junior John Chernowsky are also in contention for key spots on the team, which is trying to replace all-state guard and school record-setting, 3-point shooter Nate Kreitzer, who is now playing at Misericordia.