21 Teams in 21 Days: New coach, new look, solid start for Carmel

Like most of his players, first-year boys basketball coach Kurt Grahl came up through the ranks at Carmel High, having been the school’s freshman coach in 2015 and the junior varsity mentor last season.

Now he’s in charge of retooling a program that won 23 games yet lost the most prolific scorer in school history in John Stivers, who is now playing football at Harvard.

“John is not a replaceable-type player,” Grahl said. “Players like that come around infrequently. The good part is it leaves a vacuum and gives guys a chance to start from scratch and define their roles.”

In other words, everyone is on the same playing level as Grahl attempts to redefine the Padres and lay down his own foundation for the future.

“I’m trying to establish my own culture and expectations,” said Grahl, who spent four seasons as an assistant coach at CSU Monterey Bay. “A lot of roles have yet to be established.”

Don’t mistake the Padres for an underdog this year. No doubt, losing 70 percent of their offense to graduation will be difficult to replace.

Yet Grahl got an early Christmas gift when 6-foot-5 Kevin Cook transferred from Stevenson over the summer. Last year as a sophomore, he averaged nearly 12 points and 10 rebounds a game.

“He’s getting used to playing the entire floor,” Grahl said.

Grahl may put the ball into the hands of sophomore Joey Garello, who played sparingly last year as a freshman for the Padres.

“He’s rising to the challenge,” Grahl said. “He…

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