Evart boys basketball players are optimistic


EVART – The boys basketball season is here and Jacob Hopkins and Jon Hooker both hope to play key roles for the Evart Wildcats.

Evart opened its season Tuesday at Farwell. The first home game is Thursday with Boyne City.

Hopkins played last season on the varsity and is now a junior. He played the last four games of the 2011-12 season.

“They were challenging, but it wasn’t too bad,” Hopkins said of his experience.

He’s had a chance to work with the players during the offseason at Morey Courts. This marks the third week of practices and Hopkins likes what he sees on both offense and defense.

“Everything is a lot faster paced,” Hopkins said of his transition to the varsity. “The guys are faster and stronger.”

Hopkins will be a small forward for the Wildcats. He hopes to be a good defensive player and shoot a lot of layups He’s looking to improve at shooting, especially mid-range.

“We have quite a bit of depth this year,” Hopkins said. “We’ll be fresh all the time, coming in and off from the bench. We’re going to be a running team this year.”

Cutting down on turnovers and outworking the other team will be among the keys for success, Hopkins added.

In the Highland Conference, “I think we can beat them all. We have the guys who can do it this year,” Hopkins said.

“I think we’ll be able to contend,” Hooker said. “We’ll be up there. A lot of teams lost a lot. We have to limit turnovers and play together and play hard.”

Hooker is a senior on his third varsity season.

“My sophomore year, we started out slow,” he said. “Last year, we had a good season with a lot of quality wins. My role changed with a new offense. Jared Pattee stepped up and took more of the point guard position. That moved me to a shooting guard.”

Kris Morgan took over the coaching duties about a month before the 2011-12 season started. Morgan has had a full year to work with this team which will be a plus, Hooker indicated.

Hooker anticipates his role will be a shooting guard again although he may see other duties.

With our offense, it’s more of a drive offense, getting to the hoop and the free-throw line,” he said.