Raptor Mens’ Basketball: Interviewing Future State Champions

Exploring the Future Success of our Mens’ Basketball Team! Next issue – a look at Raptor Womens’ Basketball

The winter brings great holidays and school breaks, along with high school basketball! With the move to 2A, the Raptors will be playing some new teams; it will be interesting to see what the players thinks of the move and how they foresee the 2022-2023 season. 

Confidence Level

The Raptors are extremely confident about the upcoming season. The team has a roster of seniors, including Walker Bauknight, Tate Brown, Michael Donoho, AJ Silber, Pierson Tobin, and Baze Duckworth. When asked whether they were confident about the upcoming season compared to previous years, there was no variation. Tate Brown, in particular, feels excited and confident as he will be receiving more playing time than in previous years; one can assume that Brown has been working hard throughout the offseason. “More confident than last year” is what AJ Silber had to say to the question, something great to hear as a Raptor basketball fan. Team chemistry is an extremely important aspect of basketball, something which Baze Duckworth believes that team already has a lot of. The only skeptic seems to be Pierson Tobin, who slightly worries about the lack of players this season, an understandable worry as injuries are very common in the sport. One of the primary strengths of our Raptors which will lead to success, as noted by Michael Donoho, is the team’s height; height is crucial for rebounding and defense, among other actions. 

Outlook

The team is very excited about the winter season. Some have lower aspirations, such as AJ Silber who is excited to “play,” while others, such as Tate Brown, are looking forward to scoring and hitting “three point cellys.” The energy is high! Magnet has historically been a three-point shooting team, and Michael Donoho adds to the list of those to guard around the horn, stating that he’s very much looking forward to hitting three pointers. Pierson Tobin, being a crowd pleaser, is excited to lay down the law in the post and dunk on opponents. Hopefully Walker Bauknight can throw down as well. Bauknight is a lover of competition, looking forward to playing Wando and Bishop England. A couple of teammates specifically pointed out the teams’ efficient pace, a necessary attribute to keep up with the best of the best. Look forward to an electric season! 

Weaknesses

No team is perfect; weaknesses are always present and must be pointed-out to be overcome. Unfortunately, not all weaknesses can be eliminated: injuries must be avoided at all cost because “the team cannot afford anymore,” according to Baze Duckworth. For example, Lucas Reed fell victim to a torn ACL and will be out for the season and Baze Duckworth was out for the majority of last season.

Baze Duckworth
Lucas Reed

Some players are also worried about the offensive and defensive game schemes, aspects that only the coaches can control. Walker Bauknight is happy with the team’s shooting, but foresees a need for improvement in off-ball movements. The Warriors off-ball movements have had quite the influence. Donoho is worried about the team’s depth, a proponent that could lead to in-game fatigue; hopefully some younger players can step up and/or the Raptors’ track and field days pay off. Weaknesses can typically be overcome in-season, so it will be interesting to see which ones reveal themselves and how they are fixed. 

Competition

“I haven’t looked at the schedule, I fear only God””

— Tate Brown

When asked “Who do you think will be your toughest opponent?” five out of six seniors reported Oceanside Collegiate Academy. A historically athletic school, Oceanside attracts the best of the best with its half-day “learning” style. Who was the odd man out of the six? Tate Brown, who reported, “I haven’t looked at the schedule, I fear only God.” Tate did note the successful coaching of the Landsharks, while others spoke of the deep roster and numerous athletes (which may or may not have been recruited). It looks like we are going to have to pack the Birdcage to take on the Landsharks. Upset season? I think so. 

Expectations

The expectations for the season are booming! Tate Brown is excited for “hype run outs, intense trash talk, and the destruction of BE,” something for which everyone should be hype. Walker Bauknight also appears very optimistic, stating that the team “will finish undefeated and make playoffs,” a lovely and hopeful outlook. A few teammates are expecting a winning record with a playoff appearance, a fairly logical prediction. Michael Donoho took note of the challenging region in which the Raptors reside, featuring teams such as BE and Oceanside, but an upset would not surprise anyone. 

Make sure to attend the games! Go Raptors!