On Feb. 22, I blogged about the Webster Groves High School basketball program. Because some of the players are stars in both football and basketball, I predicted that the current ninth-grade basketball players would win or be state contenders in both sports. The reason I made this prediction is that they will have help from the current eighth-grade basketball and football players.
For two years, I have watched the eighth-grade teams develop in football and basketball. As with the ninth-grade teams, they have outstanding players in both sports. I suggest that you remember their names: Jerry Yates, Daniel Deadmon, Will James and Mick Hanrahan.
The eighth-grade basketball team has two players (Chris Gordan and Caleb Kuhn) who are about 6-foot, 3-inches tall, and Kris Jones, who plays for another team, is about the same height. Also, there is 6-foot, 3-inch tall Sturt Hollandsworth (ninth grade) and 6-foot, 6-inch tall Alex Floresca. Chris Gordan can already dunk the basketball, and so can ninth graders Sturt Hollandsworth and Sam Craig.
This year, the eighth-grade team was loaded with 3-point shoots: Jerry Yates, Mick Hanrahan, Graham Curry, Andy Bennett and John Bender. Plus, the ninth graders had a couple of 3-point shoots.
I want to highlight star player Mick Hanrahan, who I have been paying particularly close attention to. He is outstanding in three sports: football, basketball and soccer. He is one of those kids who is gifted in many things, including in the classroom. I taught him math in seventh grade, and he would amaze me at how easily he could solve problems that most other students found difficult. I hear that he really excels at soccer. In high school, Mick will play basketball and soccer. I would love to see him play all three sports, but there is a conflict between football and soccer (both are played in the fall). And, as a freshman, I can see him playing on the varsity soccer team and the junir varsity basketball team. Something about Mick makes me think of Varsity Football Coach Cliff Ice as a kid; maybe because of his drive and the way he's built.
Interestingly, another eighth-grade player, Jerry Yates, is the younger brother to varsity football and basketball player Rayshawn Simmons. Jerry is following in his brother's footsteps by playing the same positions in both football and basketball (quarterback and guard).
Another eighth-grade football player to keep an eye on is runningback Djakeem Fredrick. He runs the football like a varsity player. I can see him playing on the junior varsity team as a freshman, and he will probably get some varsity time after he learns the high school football system.
This year, the high school junior varsity basketball team was comprised mainly of ninth-grade players, and some of the players were on the junior varsity football team. I can also see some of these eighth-grade players being moved up to the junior varsity team in both football and basketball as freshman.
So, in the eighth- and ninth-grade players junior and senior years, at least five basketball players will be 6-foot, 4-inches or taller, and about five talented guards will be on the varsity basketball team together. Just get ready for some exciting basketball with a lot of dunking and 3-point shooting!
Be sure to check-out my blog next week. I will highlight an awesome eighth/ninth grade girl's ice hockey team who made it to the national competition.
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