Elder basketball tryouts are a success

A look at a few students who are trying out for the basketball teams at Elder.

The Fieldhouse during varsity tryouts, featuring Coach Schoenfeld working on his craft of coaching

Every winter, several hopeful students arrive in the fieldhouse in order to tryout for one of the three Elder basketball teams. This year was no different, as over forty freshmen tried out along with a slew of JV and varsity guys. I took the time to look at and interview some of the players this year, and I grabbed one from every level to talk about how they’ve prepared for this year.

For the freshman, I pulled aside Jason Helphinstine and asked about his basketball career thus far. “I’ve been playing since I was five, and significantly improving every year.” Over those years, Jason has played for several teams such as the Kentucky Tar Heels and the Shining Stars, both being AAU programs. Varsity player Sam Whitmer is also a part of the Shining Stars program, but plays on a different team due to age. “The key to me is just staying in shape and preparing myself to be as healthy as possible when the season comes.” The most important thing is working in the offseason, and Jason is no exception. “Shooting is key to me, so I have been working on my ball handling and shooting skills to become much more dangerous on the court.” Jason hopes to make the freshman team and compete for varsity in the coming years.

Will Ramsey waits for his turn during a shooting drill

As for JV, I talked to sophomore Bo Hoffmeier about what he’s accomplished thus far and what he’s working for in basketball. “I started in only the 5th grade, which is super late compared to these other guys.” Even though he started late, Bo’s just as good on the court as some of the other guys. He tried out for the freshman team last year, but fell just short and was one of the last players cut. “I’ve played for my grade school teams at Rapid Run and several little Oak Hills rec teams.” With his height at 6′-2″, he easily made the middle school teams and dominated while at Rapid Run Middle School. “As for the offseason, I’ve just been keeping a basketball in my hands. Improving the the basics and my fundamentals have been important, as well as learning moves from professionals in the league.” Bo’s trying out for the JV team this year, who are coming off of an 18-0 season and a GCL championship. We’ll have to see if Coach Whitmer can pull off the same magic this year.

For varsity, I looked at junior Will Ramsey, who’s new to the Elder basketball program this year. To prepare for the new challenge that is Elder basketball, he worked nonstop over the summer. “Just a lot of late nights in the gym. A lot of shooting. A LOT. You know, it’s really just been playing with the guys to help me improve.” As most basketball players can attest to, putting in the time with your teammates can mean the world in games. More trust is developed, and everyone trusts one another. As for a focal point in the offseason, Will had a massive one. “Definitely shooting. I’ve always been a defense-oriented player. But now that we’re up at varsity, everyone’s gotta make plays.”

With a slew of players returning along with some brand new recruits, Elder basketball is slated to come back better than ever this year and hopes to repeat as GCL champions.