After sitting out the first two months of the season with an injury Holy Trinity senior guard Sammy Chaffiot has been taking stock of what his young teammates have been doing.
There have been times when the Tigers have looked fantastic and there have been times where having the calming presence of a senior leader who has been in the boys basketball program since the seventh grade could make a big difference.
But make no mistake about it, the Tigers are a very talented bunch.
“It’s honestly up to us,” Chaffiot said about the potential of this year’s team. “We’ve had moments throughout the season already … we don’t really have a limit, to be honest … where we’re just all flowing and everything’s going good. We need to capitalize on that more often and make every game like that the whole game instead of just a one-quarter spurt where it’s good.
“If we can play like that, we’re going to go far for sure.”
The Tigers, who reached the Class 3A final four last season, certainly have the pieces to make another deep run — especially after Chaffiot returns this month.
Holy Trinity has four returning juniors with varsity experience and three young players — eighth-grader Martay Barnes and freshmen Michael Otero and Caleb Gaskins — who could potentially push the program to the next level.
Those three guys, for a young age, are getting a lot of experience early, especially with Sammy being out,” Henderson said. “I think that’s going to help us long term down the road.”
Gaskins, a 6-foot-7 guard/forward who was averaging a team-high 16 points a game early in the season, is not only a major talent, but he was one of only 12 high school players in the country selected to the Jr. NBA Court of Leaders program this year.
The goal of the Court of Leaders program, as described by an NBA website, is to “help young adults learn how to amplify their voices not only in their local communities, but also across the basketball landscape” in part by pairing them with former NBA players. Gaskin’s mentor is Isaiah Austin.
“It’s worth a lot. It’s a good experience, a good opportunity to get your name out there,” Gaskin said. “You meet with a mentor and basically just have fun. They teach you different things about basketball and what comes with it all throughout high school.”
Being 14 and having a lot of expectations placed on you Chaffiot, Barnes and Cole Chanda can all play the point as well. Wyatt Chanda is a junior who has played plenty of varsity minutes, Cooper Cohen is a junior shooting guard and senior guards Chris Moore and Junes Rashwan have been contributing as well.
With only six home games and a tough schedule, the Tigers should be battle tested when they hit the postseason.