When Harry Condoleon began as coach of the Bishop Garrigan boys basketball team in 2014, the tallest player on the Golden Bears’ roster was 6-foot-even. How times have changed in Algona.
Behind a physically huge lineup of talented and young players, Bishop Garrigan has worked its way up to a tie for fifth in the AP poll in Class 1A, and the Golden Bears feel they are just getting started.
“It’s been a fun ride so far and I hope the kids appreciate what they’ve accomplished and what they still can,” Condoleon said.
Just looking at the Garrigan roster alone is enough to turn heads.
The Golden Bears have just two players out of 13 on the roster listed at less than 6 feet tall. Their front line — Angelo Winkel, TJ Schnurr and Cade Winkel — stands at 6-foot-7, 6-5 and 6-4, and the guards, John Joyce and Brad Capesius are 6-1 and 6-3, respectively. That kind of height is rare for a school Garrigan’s size, and it’s using that stature to its full advantage as the Golden Bears come out of break with an 8-1 overall record. They stand second in the Top of Iowa Conference West Division at 5-1.
“I think it’s just the nucleus of experienced players and new players molding together and playing well together, and we have a lot of size for a 1A team so that’s nice to have,” Condoleon said.
That group is led by Schnurr, who was a first-team all-conference player as a sophomore and has taken the next step this year. Schnurr is among the Class 1A leaders with 21.6 points per game, and he’s also grabbed more than 10 rebounds per contest as he stands at 96 through nine games.
Condoleon attributed Schnurr’s leap forward this year to his improment in the offseason through AAU ball, plus “finding the weight room” in order to bulk up.
“He’s taken the weight room seriously and that has paid big dividends for him,” the coach said. “His knowledge of the game is top notch for a junior … and he can score in the post as well as shoot from outside. He’s really a dual-threat player.”
But it’s far from a one-man show at Garrigan. The Winkel brothers — Angelo and Cade — have done their own bit of heavy lifting in the scoring department as compliments to Schnurr.
Cade, a sophomore, is averaging 12.2 points per game, which is down almost a point from last year’s average. That’s something Condoleon is thrilled with, though, saying Cade has made the unselfish choice to help his teammates be better in a small trade out for his own scoring. He’s still a threat to go off any night, nonetheless.
His freshman brother Angelo is a force under the hoop. At 6-7, he’s found his way through defenses to average 14.8 points per game and shoot at a 67.9 percent clip. His frame plus raw talent gives reason to believe he’ll be a name to watch in the coming years.
“The sky is the limit for his potential,” Condoleon said. “He’s extremely talented, a machine offensively, and hard to stop 1-on-1. Once he discovers the weight room, he’ll be able to make that big change from year to year.”
With those three, plus the guard play of Joyce (8.8 ppg) and Capesius (7.3 ppg), the Golden Bears have found a winning formula early on.
Their ultimate goal is to make it down to the state tournament for the first time since 2010, and do some damage once they get there, but first is chasing down a conference title. The quest for that will hit its biggest hurdle right out of break on Jan. 2 at an undefeated Forest City team which has had the Golden Bears’ number as of late.
They firmly believe their time is right now, too.
“This is the most talented team I’ve had since I’ve been here,” Condoleon said. “It can be difficult sometimes with young kids and a group with no seniors (to keep them focused), but we’re doing our best to keep them grounded.”