Buckets in the New Year: US Basketball in 2019

Jack Henry Muha '19

The University School Varsity Basketball squad has had quite the season thus far. With a record of 7-8, it seems the Preppers haven’t necessarily played their best basketball yet. With that being said, however, their record itself is a bit misleading. Led by seniors TJ Kelly, John Nestor, Jack Voudouris, and Jake Nordell, the team is trying to find the right balance of offense and defense to carry them into the postseason. Early in the season, the Preppers defeated Glenville in the Cleveland Heights tournament, making a statement to the surrounding teams in Cleveland that US basketball is back. Adding a win over Eastlake North helped to gain some momentum for the team as the season began. This hard-fought win proved to be one of the best team efforts the Preppers have had so far. With victories like these, it was hard to imagine that the Preppers would fall to Gilmour like they did. The defense simply was not strong enough to hold off some of the Lancers. But, with a rematch looming, the team is excited for the opportunity to re-claim the Battle of SOM title on home court. Sophomore transfer Faris Dahman proved to be the missing piece for the Preppers’ offense. With his quick ball handling and great vision, Faris helped produce some clutch points for the team early in the season. But, with the OHSAA rules, Faris is forced to sit out the remainder of the year in order to be eligible for his next two years in high school. While the loss came at a critical time in the season, sophomores Cam Smith and Asaan Snipes-Rea both have stepped up to balance out the loss of their classmate Dahman. With the lineup figured out, Coach McDonnell will now focus on the playoffs and the remaining regular season games. Senior John Nestor thinks the team is, “rested and ready to go” for the second half of the year. With the right senior leadership and some meaningful minutes from the underclassmen, the Preppers could make a run deep into the postseason.