GREGORY -- It’s not so much wondering if one of Coy Determan or Daniel Mitchell will have eye-popping numbers, but more trying to guess how many points Gregory’s duo will score on a nightly basis.
The Gorillas’ one-two punch gives them one of the most dynamic offensive duos in Class B. The athleticism, shooting and inside-out game displayed by both players has seen them alternate stat-stuffing nights -- and sometimes even on the same night.
As either of the two set up in the post, the other can handle the ball on the perimeter to facilitate the offense or launch a 3-pointer. The slender 6-foot-7 Mitchell has an evident height advantage, towering over opponents as a freshman newly inserted into the starting lineup this year. Determan, a 6-foot-2 junior, can handle his own in the paint, too, maintaining the post skills he possessed as a post player in his youth.
Defenses respond with double teams and face-guarding to deny them the ball. But through a 3-2 start, neither has been slowed down. And as the duo racks up points, they’re simply having fun playing next to another all-around talent.
“He can play all-around,” Determan said of Mitchell. “He can play inside. He can go up and dunk on you, or he can shoot it outside. It’s nice.”
“Playing with (Determan) is great,” said Mitchell, who first dunked in seventh grade. “He brings a lot of energy. He can create shots and look for open teammates.”
Both average a double-double, but offensively is where Gregory leans on its duo. In a 69-58 loss to Bridgewater-Emery on Wednesday, they scored the first 39 points for the Gorillas, including all 28 first-half points.
Determan and Mitchell average 27.2 and 23.5 points per game, respectively, combining for five 30-point games. Determan has the high mark with 43 points in Gregory’s opener against Mount Vernon/Plankinton, while also notching a triple-double against Colome. The pair has scored 77.2 percent of Gregory’s points this year.
“To have that versatility with both of them, it helps that they’re not one-dimensional,” said Coy’s father and Gregory coach Jeff Determan. “We’ll still try to emphasize not being one-dimensional and working together. If we get the two-man game going, they’re pretty tough to stop.”
Coach Determan cites both players’ work ethic through the whole year to how they’ve become such sensational scorers.
“My older brother always pushed me to work pretty hard, so I’ve always wanted to be better than he is,” Coy Determan said.
An opportunity arose, as well, with the graduation of Coy’s older brother and Gregory’s leading scorer, Tommy.
Gregory doesn’t have a senior on its roster, which has led to Determan stepping up as a leader in the locker room and Mitchell playing on varsity full-time. Last season, Determan averaged 15.5 points per game next to his older brother. Mitchell still played junior varsity minutes and was the team’s sixth man, though his 13.7 points per contest ranked third on the team.
Determan, who transitioned to guard in high school, is still trying to improve his jump shot, though he’s hit 13 3-pointers this year -- second most on the team to only Mitchell.
“He works his tail off. That’s all I can say,” coach Determan said. “There’s not very many days in the year he’s not in the gym. That’s what it takes to get to his level. He’s put in the work.”
For Mitchell, as much as it’s about continuing to sharpen his skills, he’ll also get stronger as he gets older. Still, just like defenses have failed to do, that part of his maturation hasn’t slowed him down either.
“We’ve kind of seen this for a few years when he started middle school. It seems like he grows an inch everyday,” coach Determan said. “But his tools are there and we’ve known it for a long time. He just needs to get a little stronger and figure out how physical you have to play at the varsity level. But other than that, he’s handled everything in stride and like we want him to.”