Establishing a culture and building a program takes time and patience.
Entering his second season as the head coach at New Berlin West, Brandon Mattox feels he has the right mix of experienced returners and newcomers to continue to push the Vikings' program forward as they chase their first winning season since 2011-12.
"I couldn't be happier with this group right now," Mattox said. "They're bought in and willing to put the work in. They want to hang their hats on working hard."
New Berlin West returns seven players from last year's team that finished 5-19 but took down Cudahy in a regional game for the program's first playoff win since 2012.
The Vikings bring back their top three scorers from last season in 6-foot-3 senior wing Fred Cottrell (14.3 points), 5-10 senior guard Zach White (12.6 points) and 6-1 junior point guard Joe Robey (8.8 points).
Cottrell was named second-team All-Woodland West a year ago, while White earned honorable mention honors.
"(Cottrell) carried a heavy load on the offensive end," Mattox said. "We'll look for him to get others involved as others try to key on him. Zach is entering the season in great shape and ready to go. We expect him to have a big year on both ends of the floor. We're very excited about the growth Robey made over last year and will look for him to be a big contributor for us."
Also returning for New Berlin West are 6-3 senior forward Hunter Pipik (8.1 points), 6-3 junior forward Tyler Torosian (5.5 points), 5-9 junior guard Mason Church (4.9 points) and 6-5 senior forward Matt Obradovich (4.8 points).
The Vikings will add juniors DJ Nenning and Austin Obradovich to their roster, as well as talented freshman Desmond Polk, who is considered one of the top players in the state in the class of 2020.
"He's started the year off running and looks to be very confident," Mattox said of Polk. "We're excited to have him."
Improving while playing in the Woodland West is no easy task. Pewaukee, Pius XI and New Berlin Eisenhower are ranked in the Wissports.net preseason Division 2 poll, while Wauwatosa West features one of the best players in the state in Alou Dillon.
New Berlin West will open its season at West Allis Hale on Saturday, Nov. 26. The Vikings' home opener will be Tuesday, Nov. 29, against Milwaukee Madison.
"I'm really looking forward to this year," Mattox said. "I have a year under my belt and a solid group of seniors. We're going to play a tough schedule, and we play in one of the toughest conferences in the state."