New coach understands rebuild, ready to take on the challenge

By Matthew Narvaiz
sports@taosnews.com
Posted 12/5/19

Dennis Archuleta knows the tough task he has in front of him.

Archuleta, who is in his first year leading the Questa boys basketball team, is picking up a program he says needs to be rebuilt from the ground up -- and for good reason.

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New coach understands rebuild, ready to take on the challenge

Posted

Dennis Archuleta knows the tough task he has in front of him.

Archuleta, who is in his first year leading the Questa boys basketball team, is picking up a program he says needs to be rebuilt from the ground up -- and for good reason.

A season ago, the Wildcats finished last in District 5-2A and posted a losing record of 5-19. They didn't make the state tournament. And, by the end of it, they lost three seniors.

"They're learning and they're working hard," Archuleta said. "They're improving every day."

Archuleta knows how basketball works -- and he's been around it in the state of New Mexico for over 30 years. He's made stops in Peñasco, Española Valley and Capital, where he most recently served as an assistant coach for the varsity team. Aside from that, he's coached other sports such as volleyball and track and field.

And although Archuleta has prior experience, he hasn't had a whole lot of time to be able to work with the players of Questa as he was hired towards the end of July. Usually, in a lot of cases, coaches will run summer camps with their respective teams, but that wasn't the case for Archuleta.

Archuleta and Questa, however, will feature four seniors on the varsity squad in Carlos Gonzáles, Gabriel Hernández, Daniel Martínez and Ethan Rivera. All look to be key components for this season's team.

As far as the juniors and underclassmen go, Archuleta said he will split each respective player's time between junior varsity and varsity but that will depend on skill set, who needs the extra playing time to grow, among other factors.

Singling out players who will have an impact isn't Archuleta's style either, he said, because "that can get to a player's head" and it will eventually lead to shoddy play. So fans of Questa boy's basketball will have to see for themselves who will make an impact once the season starts.

When Questa is at its best, Archuleta said, you can expect solid offensive sets and pressure on the defensive end. With growth, Archuleta said he'd love to see his team run a full-court press on defense, but will also use zone sets too.

It will be tough to mesh at the start of the season, Archuleta said. But he knows that there's enough talent on this team to reach some level of positive potential.

Archuleta said that he's dedicating much of his coaching to teaching teamwork. Now in 2019, he knows how, even in team sports, players can be highly individualistic -- but certainly not on his team.

"If you want to be an individual go play tennis or swimming or something like that," Archuleta said. "But as far as the game of basketball, we are going to play as a team."

Questa will open the season against Ruidoso at the Taos gymnasium on Thursday (Dec. 5) and will play one game each in the couple days after as part of the Taos Shootout tournament. In the tournament, they will also face Mora and Dexter, the latter of which is a Class 3A school.

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