Varsity Basketball Ready to Tip-Off their Season

Noah Karesh, Staff Writer

The basketball team kicks off their season Nov. 5 against Hebron. Finishing last season 17-14 overall and 3-11 in district with a win against McKinney Boyd, and Plano East twice, the team is looking to bounce back and make a playoff run this season. Anthony Morgan will be entering his 12th season as the Wolves’ head coach, with assistant coach Nathan Leraas returning as well. This past offseason, former assistant coach Derrick Richardson accepted a coaching position at Plano East which led to the hiring of new assistant coach Mark Reynolds from Jasper High School.

Following the graduation of only one senior this summer, this year’s squad has seven returning seniors including Jalen Anderson, Ryan Zambie, Shemar Pearl and Christian Aguillard. There are also two new seniors on the team this year, Tyler Poindexter and Xavier George. As a junior last season, Zambie led the team in scoring, averaging 23 points and four rebounds per game. This past summer, he played for the Lebanese national team in the Federation Internationale de Basketball (FIBA) Asia Cup and was named a top ten player in the tournament.

After his first season on varsity, Anderson continued practicing in the offseason to get better for this season.

“This summer, I was really trying to work hard on improving on my athleticism and getting bigger and stronger,” Anderson said. “I have been working on my off-the-dribble jump shot as well.”

After missing the playoffs last year, he made it clear the team only has one thing on their mind for this season.

“We are trying to win the State championship,” Anderson said. “When we are working hard at practice, we always have that in mind.”

Coach Leraas spoke on what the offseason has been like so far.

“The offseason has been great,” Leraas said. “The kids have been working hard, and everybody is excited about the upcoming year. I could not be more pleased with the overall work ethic the guys are putting out.”

Although most of the team consists of guys who played last year, Leraas spoke on some newcomers he expects to make an instant impact on the team.

“We have two seniors who moved away last year and are back this year, Tyler Poindexter and Xavier George,” Leraas said. “Sophomore Chase Ross played with the junior varsity last year and will be coming up this year to add to our mix.”

Following the district realignment this past summer, two new teams were added into the Wolves district: Prosper and Jesuit. Prosper will be coming off of one of their best seasons in school history after going 32-4 overall and 13-1 in district play, as well as winning the District 14-5A title. Jesuit will be coming off a stellar season as well, going 30-6 overall and 11-3 in district play. West will also be tasked with facing Allen this year, who will be trying to defend their 6A State championship despite only having four returning seniors.

Last year was not the most ideal season for the team, but Leraas is confident this year’s team is capable of making a serious dent in the district as well as a deep run in the playoffs.

“The biggest thing is that we finished last season as a disappointment,” Leraas said. “We started off great but faltered off at the end. The motivational factor for us is to have a complete season, prove ourselves and represent Plano West.”