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SRHS girls varsity basketball coach Dino Puccetti.

Varsity Girls Basketball Team to Uphold History and Tradition on the Court

Salt River High School girls basketball coach Dino Puccetti took last year’s varsity team to the Canyon Athletic Association state championship. This year’s team includes 11 varsity players, with two returning starters.

The team opened the 2016-17 season against Heritage–Laveen on November 30.

Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Puccetti has been involved with basketball since the fourth grade. He said he was fortunate enough to play a season of junior college basketball, eventually making his way to working alongside collegiate and NBA coaches. Puccetti worked with former Arizona State University basketball coach Bill Frieder and with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and Sacramento Kings.

“I’m really proud of what we accomplished here with both the boys and girls,” Puccetti said. “[In] my final year as the boys coach, we made the state playoffs; that was the first time in six years. We had winning records for two of those three years. I am very proud of that. I inherited a team with the girls, and we lost in the state championship for the first year and won a state championship last year.”

 

Q: What are your goals as a team?

Our goal every year is to try to get as far as we can get. I don’t ever put a goal on state championships. I always just put a goal on winning the next game, and hopefully that next game will get us to that state championship. Our goal as a team is to develop and get better. We’re a team in transition this year. We’re definitely a team without an identity right now, and we’re trying to see where all the pieces fit. The expectation is always higher with girls because of the tradition and history.

Q: What is your outlook on the upcoming basketball season?

We have enough talent to do well. I think my job is to put that talent together in a productive way. A successful year for us is playing hard every game, playing to the best of our abilities, and being committed to each other. If we do that, we’ll have a successful year.

Q: Do you have a specific focus this year, as a team?

One of the things that we are introducing this year that’s different is we’re going through the John Wooden Pyramid of Success on a weekly basis. We talk about what each of those blocks means to us as a team, but also as individual citizens, with the goal of getting to the top of the pyramid—but understanding that it doesn’t just happen. It takes time. We’re really focused in on trying to understand how we get to that pinnacle. That sets us up better to get there.

Q: What type of influence do you bring to this year’s team?

I think coaches are influenced by whom they worked for before and whom they’ve played for before. My high school basketball coach, Tom Hansen, [provided] the building blocks that I use as far as how we get ready to play and the expectations during practice. Time management is really important, and those influences are from Coach Frieder at ASU.

Check future Au-Authm Action News issues for girls basketball coverage. For league information and directions to games, visit www.azcaa.com.