Panthers Sophomore Basketball

From+Pixabay

From Pixabay

Kevon Elzey, Staff Writer

 A sophomore basketball team that is a considered substandard by other schools, viewed as a team that is untalented and non coachable, the Round Lake Sophomore Basketball Team ended the season last year with a 8 – 22 record. The team last year had talented players, but could not seem to win as many games as expected. Although the team had struggles last year, this year, the sophomore team could have the potential to be an outstanding team.  

Sophomore coach, John Nicoline, has built a team that he believes has potential. The team this year consists of players that are coachable and talented. The team roster is: Alejandro Atreage (guard), Marco Barcenas (point guard) , Musiq Brantley (guard), Deaundre Caster (forward), Jaylin Cunningham (guard/forward), Javonte Dixon (point guard), Kevon Elzey (guard/small forward), Wyatt Hill (guard), Daniel Kadima (forward), Goldy Dhingra (guard), and Ryan Lowe (forward). With this team, the sophomores have a well balanced mix of players with different strengths.

Coach Nicoline has many hopes for the season. “My first hope is the same every year, which is to come out at the end of the season better than when we started.”  Nicoline said. “Also, being the sophomore coach, one of my hopes is to prepare each player to be a crucial part of varsity next season.” Reaching the varsity level is not an easy task, but the Round Lake boys’ basketball program has an idea that could help reach that goal. This year, the program has decided to try something new. “Coach Fisher is trying a new system by having the sophomore and varsity practice together so I am looking forward to the combined practices,” said Nicoline. “ This will hopefully challenge my players because they will have to go up against varsity players day in and day out”. Practicing together will help the sophomore team  improve because of the higher level of intensity that varsity brings to its practices. Current sophomore and varsity basketball player  Marco Barcenas thinks otherwise. “ The sophomores practicing with varsity this year I think is intended to make the sophomore team better and more competitive but for varsity maybe they feel as if it’s not good enough competition.” Barcenas said. “Also the sophomores may struggle with confidence facing players 2-3 years older than them.”  

This year, the athletics program has changed conferences, meaning that the sophomore basketball team will be playing different teams that they have never played before. Although the program has a new conference, the team will still be playing similar teams from last year. The sophomore team has many important games this year that will be very intense. “ I grew up in Round Lake and Grant has been our rival for years so that game will always hit me a little harder,” Nicoline said. “Also now that Grayslake North is in our conference and they are just down the street so their game will also mean a bit more to me and the players.” These games will have an impact on the sophomore team and the rest of the program.

 The sophomore basketball program has a few new players this year that could affect the team in a very positive way. “We have three players that did not play on the Round Lake team last season,” Nicoline said. “Alejandro, Javonte, and Deaundre are all good kids and I think the one thing that they will bring to practice is fire. They will always be giving me their best, always trying to fight their way to earn some playing time. I expect this from all my players and am interested to see how their fire will affect the attitude and intensity of practice day after day.” With the new players that have joined the team, the sophomores are looking for a successful season this year.

So far, the Round Lake sophomore basketball team has a current record of  3-7. They had a slow start to their season and things have not been so smooth. Although the team has great potential, there have been many setbacks. “ Ineligibility, injuries, and players getting bumped up is slowing down what the team can achieve.” Barcenas said. Many things have happened in the season thus far, but the sophomores are still working hard for a successful season.  The Sophomore basketball team’s next upcoming game is against Hoffman Estates on December 17 and they are looking for win to add to their record.