The varsity basketball team has six returning players this year. On a roster of twelve, that makes half the team new to the level of play at the varsity level. The roster will soon drop to a roster of eleven when senior JaCorey Thomas leaves early to jumpstart his football career at the University of Georgia over winter break.
With the departure of Thomas, a defensive minded starter, there is going to be an opportunity for someone new to earn their way into the coaches rotation.
“[The one thing that separates players on this team and others who aren’t on it is] effort and being coachable. There’s a lot of kids out there that love playing basketball and would like to make the Boone team. But, not everyone is willing to work as hard as possible to make it happen. Great effort can overcome talent,” head coach David Martinson said.
Senior Jack Candelaria is one player whose effort has been recognized. His role on the team is not limited to being a starting guard, but includes being a leader who demonstrates a strong work ethic.
“Me being a leader and the most experienced on the team, I just try to help the young guys and not let them get too high or too low, and try to get them to understand it’s a long season but every moment counts,” Candelaria said.
Making adjustments is common among a young team, but that doesn’t deter the playoff hopefuls from competing. Aiming to make it back to the postseason this year, the team needs to win, and win in high fashion.
“We have enough talent and a strong enough schedule to get there,” Martinson said.
But he doesn’t omit the fact that by playoff time, there will only be five players who have experienced that level of play.
“There’s more teaching and skill work being done with this team, vs some of my more seasoned teams in the past. But the goal is to always make the playoffs,” Martinson said.
One of the players looking to prove themselves this season is starting freshman Momolu Kamara. Standing at 6 feet 6 inches tall, Kamara brings his size and willingness to learn to the team.
“One of my biggest strengths of playing [for coach Martinson] is that I’m a coachable player and I’ll never try to bring my team down,” Kamara said.
With multiple newer players looking to prove themselves, the team hopes to make an impressive stand and string some wins together.
“The start of the season has been slow but I am confident that we can turn it around. The goal is to win the district championship and I still think we can do that” Candelaria said.