Last week was Waelder’s final summer league basketball game of the season, with the Wildcats at home against the Gonzales Apaches summer team. In previous weeks, Schulenburg also participated in league games.
“The goal for the summer league was to get our guys in the gym as much as possible, to keep them off the streets, to keep them out of trouble,” Waelder head basketball coach David Graves said. “I mean this is what we do, this is our tradition, so we want to grow that as much as possible, and also to help the surrounding schools around us.”
The Wildcats were almost in full force last week. Graves said the team is currently 16 deep, with two athletes missing last week. There’s a lot of younger ballers on the team, so getting these reps is necessary to help with communication and with overall team chemistry.
“We do have some seniors that will lead, but we have a lot of underclassmen,” Graves explained. “The second unit that was on the floor was filled with four freshmen and one sophomore. That’s just something we need to build on. We need those guys in the gym as much as possible and we need our seniors and our juniors to be guiding those guys, being leaders to those guys.”
On the other side of the court were the young Gonzales Apaches with new head coach Alec Paramski looking on. Paramski’s goals were similar to Graves’ in that he wanted to get his younger athletes the reps needed to succeed, instead of having his kids wait until the season to first start training.
“I wanted to get our kids developing and being able to go out and play competitively over the summer,” Paramski said, “because it’s hard to win basketball games when you just pick up a basketball during basketball season.”
Even though it’s July, both coaches were able to pull something from the summer games.
“We have a really young team,” Paramski noted. “Nothing set on who is playing where, this is just kids that can get together and play. I think we showed some growth with us hustling, playing little bit better defense, but there’s still a lot of thing we need to work on as a team overall. But like you said, it’s July, a lot of young guys are playing, so we’ll have to work on a lot of things.”
For the Wildcats, youth might be something to overcome this upcoming season. However, Graves commended the team on their ability to play defense as well as their willingness to do what it takes to win games.
“We can guard,” Graves said. “I know that we can guard now, I know that we can get up and down the floor and I know that these guys are passionate about what they want to do, which is they want to win and they want to bring a bigger picture, a bigger tradition to this school and take it to another level than they have before. I think in July this is just our preseason. When Aug. 20 hits, that’s our second preseason, so this is what that was for. We’re ready and we’re ready to get after it.”
The first official day of practice for boys basketball under UIL rules is Oct. 30. Schools are allowed to scrimmage beginning Nov. 9 and have interschool games on Nov. 15. Schedules, along with preview stories, will be published before the winter sports season.