Deep Seabury hoops squad ready to usher in Johnson era

photo by: Conner Becker/Journal-World

The Seabury boys basketball team and first-year head coach Trey Johnson begin the season on Dec. 5 at a tournament site still to be determined.

Ten members of Seabury’s boys basketball team scramble around one side of the floor like mad scientists, tuning and retuning their offense over and over again. Head coach Trey Johnson prefers it this way, knowing he or one of the team’s assistants will undoubtedly throw one of their ideas into the mix.

On a Thursday night in November, Seabury’s gymnasium is practically a laboratory.

“Practice is more of like a bull session with kind of everybody, especially at the beginning, trying to figure out what we’re trying what we’re good at and what we’re not good at,” Johnson said.

With a road tournament (site still to be determined) slated for Dec. 4, Johnson and crew have been hard at work since Johnson hosted initial summer clinics and workouts following his promotion to head coach back in June.

The Seahawks, who finished last season 10-10 and third in the Kaw Valley Conference under former coach Benny Molle, return arguably the deepest starting lineup in the area with senior point guard Aidan Page, junior guard Jace Smith, sophomore guard Jace Hoffman and 6-foot-7 junior center Chase Honarvar.

“This group is connected,” said Page, a Kansas City, Missouri, native and one of two seniors on this year’s roster. “We know where each other is going to be on the court at all times. I know what he” — pointing at Honarvar — “is going to do and he” — Honarvar points back at Page — “knows what I’m going to do.”

photo by: Conner Becker/Journal-World

Seabury senior Aidan Page sizes up his shot during a team practice on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023, at Bishop Seabury Academy.

Smith (11.4 points per game) and Honarvar (10.2) – two All-Kaw Valley Conference selections and seasoned AAU products – headline Seabury’s starting five. But even a name like Honarvar, a 2022-23 Sports in Kansas Player of the Year nominee who led the state in blocks (6.2) and 1A in rebounds (10.0) per game last season, can’t be defined as a single “leader.”

Johnson, alongside assistant coaches Mehdi Honarvar, Dee Early, and Collins Robinson, has emphasized a culture of players raising their voices when something sticks out.

“They all just want to win,” Johnson said. “They’ll do whatever they need to do to win. It would be hard to tell which one’s the leader because they all talk together and with me too. I just did something (tonight) on offense and they were like ‘I don’t know if that’s going to work, coach.'”

“They’re comfortable saying that.”

For Honarvar, raising his voice brings its own set of challenges.

“It’s a little strange,” Honarvar said. “I’ve been, usually, the one being mentored my whole career. But now, I’m the one trying to give out information, which isn’t that difficult for me to do. It might be difficult for me to say what I want in a way I want it to come out.”

photo by: Conner Becker/Journal-World

Seabury junior Chase Honarvar shoves the ball through the hoop during a team practice on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023, at Bishop Seabury Academy.

Honarvar, like any upperclassman, is tasked with raising the bar for Seabury.

A large part of that challenge, and what Johnson wants to foster year after year, is living up to the expectations their coaches and peers have set for them. And carving out a spot of their own in the area’s busy hoops scene is a responsibility this year’s roster doesn’t take lightly.

What’s left now is for the Seahawks to earn it.

“I think we’ve always been ready,” said Smith, who followed his friends’ advice and joined Seabury’s basketball program two years ago as a freshman. “It’s going to take some time for people to develop, but as long as everybody buys in and plays their role, we can be ready right after (Thanksgiving) break.”

Seabury’s home opener against St. Mary’s Academy is slated for Dec. 18.


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