Not many people have the task of taking over a team coming off a state basketball title.
But he isn’t shying away from the challenge. Rather, he’s embracing it. As he’s gotten situated in his new role, he spoke on what it means to follow a man who went out on top and what the Raptors’ future will look like with him at the helm.
Question: Not many people have the opportunity, or burden depending on how you look at it, of taking over a team coming off a state title win. What are your expectations as you’re getting more familiar with this team?
Krapcha: I don’t really look at it as a burden. I think it’s great that I got the opportunity to take over a program that’s had so much success.
There’s a culture in place and kids want to play basketball at Eaglecrest. The school is excited about the basketball team from what I’ve gathered so far.
The cupboard is not bare. The senior class is really good. We have a chance to be pretty darn good. We’re going to be a competitive team.
Q: You were on staff at Doherty when you got the head job, but you’re going into a new school and a new position. How much are you brining a culture that you want and how much are you trying to maintain things from what John (Olander) was able to do?
Krapcha: It’s a little bit of both. Obviously, he’s been a very good coach and he’s been very successful and he’s won a lot of games. I think that the best thing about that is the commitment level of the kids.
They’re already there. They know what to expect. It’s like, ‘Hey, we’re working out in the summer. We have open gym at this time.’ The kids know that and they’re going to be in the gym, working.
We’re going to play a little differently than what they did. Just some philosophy differences, which should be expected.
It’s not going to be a whole lot of building a culture. When I took the job at Mitchell, I felt like that was all I was doing. I had to start from nothing and build an entire culture.
Q: For you personally, coming into a situation, what are the challenges that come into it?
Krapcha: When you do take over for a program that’s had success and you throw some new things at the kids and say, “Hey, we’re not going to play that way. We’re doing to do that.” It’s probably natural for them to, maybe not question it, but kind of wonder that what they did was successful so why is it changing.
There are some challenges in getting them to buy into what I want in terms of what we’re going to do offensively and what we’re going to do defensively.
There are challenges there.
Also, being new in the building and seeing a lot of new faces. I’ve had most of the guys, but I understand there were some football kids that weren’t around. It’s not going to be that instant comfort.
At Doherty, I was very comfortable. THat’s something that was built over time. I’ll find my place at Eaglecrest too.
Q: What are you seeing from guys like Victor Garnes and Xaiv’ion Jackson who saw varsity minutes last year, but need to step up and lead this team to a level of play that it’s used to?
Krapcha: Vic hasn’t done a lot of basketball in terms of the summer. He’s probably a Division I football kid, so he’s going to camps and handling Eaglecrest football stuff.
My only interactions with him were in May at some open gyms. He has a great personality, he’s super-athletic, he’s extremely confident. You can tell he has that swagger about him.
Stepping into a larger role, whether that’s more scoring or something like that, I don’t think that’s going to be an issue. I can tell he’s a very confident kid.
X is just… I’ve been really impressed with him. He can really play. He has a high IQ. He can handle it, he can get to the rim. He’s a great passer; he’s just really smart.
We threw some new things at him offensively and he picked it up on day one.
He’s excited for his last go-around and he’s ready to step up.
Q: With no Colby Ross and a new coach, are people going to be pleasantly surprised with what Eaglecrest is going to do or should they temper their expectations?
Krapcha: I don’t want their expectations to be tempered. I applied for the job wanting those high expectations year-in and year-out.
I really think there’s pressure and all that, but no one’s going to put more pressure on me to win than myself.
I want those high expectations, I hope they’re still there.
There might be some speed bumps early which can happen with a new coach. I hope the expectations are still high. I think they are. It’s been communicated to me by my staff and things like that.
And the kids. They want to win another one, so I’m excited for the expectations to be high.
Q: How much do you know about the Centennial League and are you bracing for that challenge?
Krapcha: You talk about the reasons I applied for the job and the league is up there.
I wanted that challenge. I think it’s the best league in the state.
I think that stuff cyclical a little bit, bit year-in and year-out, you’re going to have some really quality teams in our league regardless of talent. It’s going to be pretty solid.
Last year with Grandview, Smoky (Hill) and obviously Eaglecrest, there are three top-10 caliber teams in one league.
Next year, Grandview is going to be really solid. Overland is going to be really good. They’re really athletic.
I like the challenge.
Q: Is there a point that it’s going to hit you the this team just won a state championship and now it’s yours?
Krapcha: It hasn’t yet. I get it in doses. I get it from talking to the administration, talking to my athletic director, talking to teachers in the building, or parents or someone else.
When I got the job, my phone was buzzing with text messages. I got so many different phone calls.
I knew right away that it was a pretty big deal within Colorado high school basketball.
I think, having said that, it won’t hit me until that first game. I think we open with Rock Canyon.
It’ll hit me then.
Q: What are you going to enjoy from the rest of the summer to the start of basketball season?
Krapcha: I’m excited. I’m a big high school sports fan so I’m exited to see the culture of the school.
I know our football team is going to be competitive and seeing the school standing behind its athletic teams, I think that’s going to be a lot of fun.
I kind of take July as a time to relax a bit and work on myself.
I’m a big studier, so I’m either watching film or watching how other coaches do other things. I just worry about me a little bit.
But we’ll hit the ground running with some preseason stuff and I’m definitely excited about it.