On paper, the Gettysburg High boys' basketball team will face a transitional year filling the scoring void left by sniper Ben Kroll.

Kroll served as the alpha dog of the Warriors' offense and took over games with his quick-strike shooting.

"Ben Kroll isn't playing this year," head coach Jeff Bair said. "Ben chose not to try out. He just chose not to. It was personal decision on his part."

While Kroll's absence seems like a tough blow to Bair's squad, the Warriors are upgraded with the arrival of an innate point guard in junior Jeremiah "J.J." Colbert.

Colbert, a quick slasher who kick-starts the fast break, has all the attributes to orchestrate the Warriors' baseline-to-baseline offense.

Colbert, who will manage the game, tears into the driving lanes and peddles out assists as Bair anticipates a more uptempo attack this season. Colbert can dish the ball out to a variety of scorers.

Cody Kiefer, a towering 6-foot-6 forward with a refined face-up game and dependable mid-range jumper that he can extend beyond the 3-point arc, should surface as the featured scorer.

Kiefer added bulk to a once-spindly frame this offseason, packing on 15 pounds of muscle and developing into a more versatile scoring threat.

Another key piece of the Warriors' puzzle is high-flying forward Benttion Hendricks, Colbert's half-brother.

Hendricks' presence on the boards is critical. A veteran, Hendricks is long and athletic. He has developed a mid-range game to supplement his superior above-the-rim game.

Having crammed home 17 dunks last season, Hendricks' explosiveness hasn't dwindled. Bair said Hendricks spent the summer diversifying his scoring and becoming an all-around player.

Hendricks has developed a good rapport with his younger relative, who will handle the ball in half-court sets and distribute in 3-on-2 and 2-on-1 finishes.

"J.J.'s definitely a leader on the court," Bair said of Colbert. "He's a leader in practice and he's another guy that's going to score in a variety of ways. He's a ball-control point guard. He's a point guard that's going to get us organized. He's going to get us in our sets. He's going to handle the ball in the fastbreak, handle the ball in the press break."

The Warriors solved some of the chemistry concerns by putting in the necessary time during the offseason. Gettysburg played some open gym, some 5-on-5 games with other schools. They put a team together, competing in the Hagerstown Community College summer league.

Bair envisions an oceanic-deep, 11-to-12-man rotation that wears out opponents. Augmented bench depth has long been in the blueprint of Bair's Gettysburg teams.

Jason Nye and Jordan Nye, both key pieces on the junior varsity last season, are flushed into prominent roles. Another impact player is Trey Thomas, the younger brother of Rhode Island-bound Gettysburg High girls' hoops star Bri Thomas.

Thomas adds another dimension on the offensive and defensive glass. He's long and athletic and plays a lockdown brand of defense, which fits well into Gettysburg's man-to-man style. Bair has likened Thomas' game to that of Hendricks when Hendricks was a sophomore.

"Only Trey's a better shooter than (Hendricks) was as a sophomore," Bair chimed.

Last season, Kroll averaged 12.5 points. He hung 25 points in a Feb. 8 win against Northern York and scorched the nets for 23 in a shooting clinic against Greencastle-Antrim.

Kiefer, who has expanded his overall game and will be a linchpin in Gettysburg's collective glasswork attack, could take scoring matters into his own hands. Last season, Kiefer averaged 11.5 points per game. He dropped 23 on South Western and scored in double digits against every area foe.

This season, with a bigger body to throw around in the paint, Kiefer should register a bigger defensive presence. Kiefer has the Scottie Pippen or Hilton Armstrong archetype-long arms, which could render him as a menacing shot blocker.

When you consider the lack of height from forwards and centers around the local area this year, Kiefer and Hendricks could seal the basket shut and create a formidable front line.

The Warriors' practices have been competitive and, according to Bair, plenty of underclassmen are fighting for some playing time this season. The Warriors have a wealth of youth, which is underscored by having three freshmen on varsity. Jordan Romack is a reliable scorer who should provide a spark.

"It's easy to see who the first seven or eight guys might be, but I've always played 11, 12," Bair said.

"We have plenty of other guys. It's just a matter of who gets opportunities and who takes advantage of those opportunities. We've got some size in the sophomore class and freshman class on the JV that could easily be on the varsity team in two weeks. It's very competitive in practice."

zsmart@eveningsun.com