Basketball: A Communication Game


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High school basketball is not only a mental sport, but, also, a communication game. You must be able to communicate very well to play in Morgantown, West Virginia, especially at University High School. To make the team, you have to be basketball knowledgeable, talented, physically fit, and vocal. After four years of playing varsity basketball, the vocal part of the sport has helped me out in the long run.
There are five positions in basketball: point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, and center, but, the most important position is the point guard. The point guard is the quarterback or floor general of the team. You have to be very vocal to run the team and call the shots. If you are not vocal, you will be sitting the bench or worse, in the stands.
The shooting guard is the second most important player on the hardwood floor. He is the one running back or sergeant of basketball team. It’s, also, important for the shooting guard to be vocal as well. With out the point guard or shooting guard, you can not run the plays or even have a chance to win the big game.
The small forward, power forward, and center is, equally, the third import. Without these “big men,” you can not get hard set picks or the back door cuts for a heart-stopping slam dunk. These two little things are a big part in a winning team. You have to be able to pick a defender to let a teammate get by and you have to do back door cuts to get wide open lay-ups. Former teammates, power forward from 2000-2004, Dom Claudio and ,former center from 2004-2007, Grant Meadows did these two crucial things and it paid off for one of them at the end. One earning an athletic scholarship to West Virginia Wesleying as a red shirt freshman for the 2007-2008 season.
As a former point guard and shooting guard for the University High Hawks, I, also, had a shot to play Division I, in Michigan for the Wolverines and Spartans and West Virginia for the Mountaineers, and Division II, in West Virginia for the Fairmont State Falcons. With all this excitement, I was told that my talent stood out but, I was the best vocal player these four schools have seen but, my dream of playing college basketball ended when I received a brutal knee injury in the beginning of the season of my senior year in high school.

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As I was told by former head coach of the Mountaineers and, now, the new head coach of the Wolverines, John Beilein, “You are the best vocal leader I’ve seen in all my years of coaching college basketball. You call out plays very loudly, so everyone can hear and I also like how you call out screens to help your teammates.”
After hearing what John Beilein said made me anxious for college basketball. I had to finish high school first though. So, that comment made me play even harder. There are many games that could be a major communication example, like Fairmont Senior vs. University or Elkins vs. University.
A game that stands out to an extreme in my head was in 2007 when we, the University High Hawks (19-2), played cross-town rivals, Morgantown High Mohigans (19-2). This was one game that the whole University High team had to be vocal and our fans ha to be vocal, as well. If all this wasn’t to be, we wouldn’t have won that game against No. 3 team in the state of West Virginia.
Everyone was anxious weeks before the game. Newspaper said, “Mohigans Will Scalp Hawks!” The only good thing we got said about us was by Justin Jackson, a sports writer for The Dominion Post. He said the we were a talented and vocal team who can win if they shot better than ninety percent from the field and be vocal from the beginning to end. The whole team, coaches, school, and University High Hawks’ community took to heart.
A Friday night in Morgantown, West Virginia at University High’s Gymnasium. The gym packed with loved Hawk fans and hated Mohigan fans. While both teams were warming up, chants from the student sections was a game of its own. Both, University High and Morgantown High, student sections were getting into this rival game. This chanting was getting the teams more fired up and ready to play.
The game started off slow, but started to pick up the pace quickly. It went back and forth for three quarters of play. After the buzzer went off at the end of the third quarter, the score was 78- 91 in Morganton High’s favor. I knew something had to be done. So, teammate, Jedd Gyroko and I told are fellow teammates “if we lose this game, we’ll be looked at as losers forever and are record 19-2 isn’t nothing to be proud if we lose this one important game.”
After all of that, something we said must have kicked in to out teammates heads. We got the ball at the beginning of the forth quarter. I was dribbling the ball down and past center court. Grant Meadows did a back door cut as I tossed the ball toward the rim. He grabbed the ball in mid-air and dunks the ball with authority. Then, as Morgantown High, throws the ball in after the dunk, I stole the ball and hit a three point shot, which put us down by six points and back in the game.
As time read on the clock one minute, we were down by three points with the possession arrow in our favor. We had the ball and wasting clock. We, finally, called a timeout with fifteen seconds left in the fourth quarter. As we went back on the court, after the time out, chants from our student section roared the gymnasium.
As we threw the ball in play and the clock starts running down, fifteen seconds, fourteen seconds, to thirteen seconds. I was dribble the ball and passed the ball to Jedd Gyroko with eight seconds left and he passed the ball back to me. I shot a three point shot as I got fouled. The ball looked as is if it was in slow motion in the air. After, what felt like, an entirety, the ball went through the basketball. The University High School crowd went crazy as Morgantown High School fans booed and was saying the ball didn’t release my hand in time.
The officials called it a good three point shot, which tied the game, and called a foul. So, now, the game is on the line. I’m standing on the free throw line with sweating dripping from my forehead. Morgantown High fans were screaming, yelling, and doing there best to distract me and praying I missed the free throw attempt. As I bent my knees and dribbled the ball three times. I went to my shooting motion and released the ball. As the ball rotates in the air, I know that the ball will go through the bottom of the net but, what I saw in my head and what actually would happen in reality was two different things. SWOOSH! The ball goes through and the fans went wild.
Later that night, I realized that if Jedd and I didn’t say anything to our team when we were down in the beginning of the fourth quarter, we would have lost. Also, the newspaper was right, we had to shoot well and be vocal to win. We did both and it turned out great at the end. We divided the players who had less heart and desire to win a big rival game between University and Morgantown and conquered , as it showed what team wanted it
That was one game that John Beilein saw. He was sitting in the front row for all to see. University beating Morgantown game was the one game that caught his attention. Before I could sign the letter of intent , I had a major knee injury. That injury took me out of basketball altogether. That one big game showed why high school basketball’s major part is communication and why it’s means so much to a team.
So, like I sad in the beginning of this paper, high school basketball is not only a mental sport, but, also, a communication game and you have to be able to communicate to win the big rival game or to even win the not-so-big game.


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