If a mostly inexperienced Souderton squad struggles mightily on offense this season, rookie head coach Dennis Stanton might be tempted to suit up and check in at the scorer's table.
Stanton, 28, was a sharpshooting wing guard for Ursinus College. In 2003-04, the La Salle High grad led all NCAA divisions in scoring, finishing with a 32.6 average. A first-team all-American, he was a finalist for the Jostens Trophy, awarded to the Division III player of the year.
After rewriting the record book at Ursinus, Stanton, the Bears' second all-time leading scorer with 1,903 points, played professionally in Europe for four years, spending one year apiece in Denmark (2004-05), Poland (2005-06), Italy (2006-07), and Spain (2007-08).
"That was a great experience," the North Wales resident said. "I got a chance to see the world, learn about different cultures, and also play a high level of basketball. In Poland and Italy, we would play in front of between 6,000 and 7,000 spectators."
Stanton certainly can show the Indians a thing or two about shooting from beyond the arc. As a senior at Ursinus, the 6-foot-2, 190-pounder hit 140 three-pointers in 27 games. He closed with a school- and Centennial Conference-record 306 career treys.
At Souderton, Stanton replaced Perry Engard, who resigned in March, citing a desire to spend more time with his family, after compiling a 133-80 record in eight seasons.
"I think I'm ready to be a head coach, mostly because I've played at a number of levels," Stanton said. "Perry has been a big help with the transition. We talk basketball a lot, and I pick his brain about all that's involved with the position."
Before taking over the Indians, who went 23-5 last season and advanced to the PIAA District 1 Class AAAA semifinals, Stanton was a varsity assistant at Perkiomen Valley, under Jim Stinger.
At La Salle, where he was a two-year starter and averaged about 15 points as a senior, Stanton played under intense ex-boss Marty Jackson.
"Marty was pretty demanding," Stanton said, "but I learned a lot from him. He was very good at motivating his players and knowing how to get the most out of them."
Stanton, a first-team academic all-American at Ursinus, is a ninth-grade English teacher at Souderton. In the summers, he runs weeklong camps at sites such as Christopher Dock, Perkiomen Valley, and Swarthmore College.
With the Big Red, his varsity assistants are Mike Connolly (Souderton, Kutztown) and Brian Horgan (La Salle, King's). At King's, Horgan poured in 1,637 points.
Souderton, which last season won its third Suburban One League Continental Conference championship in five years, lost every starter but 6-foot-5 junior forward/center Ryan Connolly.
"I want to win just as much as anyone," Stanton said, "but I want the kids to see the bigger picture. I want them to play and represent the school with class, and grow as responsible young men. That's what matters most."