The Lakota West boys’ basketball team is hoping to bounce back from its first losing season in school history with a group that head coach Sean Van Winkle describes as “young, but experienced.”
“We have a good team,” Van Winkle said. “We are not just going to depend on one single person to do the scoring or the rebounding or the passing. We have a bunch of guys that we feel are decent players and hopefully can carry the load.”
Van Winkle does return 6-foot-4 junior Monty Boykins, who led Lakota West in scoring last season with 12.5 points per game.
“As a team, I believe we are a lot further along than we were last year,” said Boykins, who has collegiate offers from Miami, Toledo, James Madison, Eastern Michigan and Kennesaw State. “We are playing really hard on defense. We are getting better at playing team defense and offense.
“I just want to end the season on a win. I honestly feel that we can make a deep run in the playoffs.”
Besides Boykins, Lakota West returns starting guards junior Ali Barnes and sophomore Tyler Williams, as well as starting forward senior Jackson Blue.
Williams, who like Boykins has earned the attention of the college scouts, averaged 7.1 points per game last season.
“Tyler is very confident this year,” Van Winkle said. “He is one of the best overall guards in the city at his age. He can do a lot of things with the ball and play great defense … we are looking for him to have a really good year.”
Backing up Barnes, who averaged 8.4 points per game, and Williams will be newcomer sophomore Malik Grove.
Grove, who has impressed his coach and his new teammates on the basketball court, actually quit the bowling team this winter after being named the Greater Miami Conference Athlete of Year and rolling a perfect game in the sport as a freshman.
“Malik Grove has been a real surprise. Quite honestly, he is just a heady player,” Van Winkle said.
“He just knows how to play, he understands the game and he is just deceivingly good.”
Other newcomers who are expected to make an impact this season include 6-foot-7 sophomore Tyler Bowling and 210-pound senior Cole Stalker, who sat out last season after transferring from Ross.
“Our team just has a lot of heart this year,” Boykins said. “We play so hard every possession and that is going to take us a long way especially when we have guys coming off the bench who can contribute.”
Lakota West will tip off its season at home against Oak Hills at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6.
Lakota East senior setter Hannah Berling verbally committed to continue her volleyball career at Tusculum College and Lakota West junior guard Monty Boykins received a scholarship offer to play basketball at Kennesaw State.
According to Lakota East head coach Casie Garland, Berling’s decision was “strongly based on her interest in majoring in journalism and the overall atmosphere of Tusculum,” which is a Division II school in Greenville, Tenn.
“Hannah is a very experienced and hardworking volleyball player,” Garland said. “She is a strong leader both on and off the court and Tusculum is very lucky to have her. I believe she will be able to make an immediate impact on the program and will have a tremendous amount of success at the collegiate level.”
Berling’s teammates Hannah Sigala (Morehead State), Ali Lake (Ohio) and Ashley Evans (Purdue) have also recently committed to play in college.
Meanwhile, Boykins added an offer from Kennesaw State after a representative from the university attended practice this Wednesday morning. A representative from James Madison, which already has an offer extended to Boykins, was also at Wednesday’s practice, according to Lakota West head coach Sean Van Winkle.
Boykins, who averaged 12.5 points and 3.9 rebounds per game last season, also has offers from Mid-American Conference schools Toledo and Miami.
Lakota West junior guard Monty Boykins added an offer last week, while Lakota East senior Aylssa Grevenkamp recently decided to verbally commit to a college.
Boykins, who averaged 12.5 points and 3.9 rebounds per game last season, received an offer by James Madison last week, according to the Lakota West athletic department. Boykins received an offer from Toledo in June and from Miami last summer.
Grevenkamp (photo), who averaged 9.3 points and 5.9 rebounds last season, recently decided to commit to Findlay, she was also considering Valparaiso .
Grevenkamp’s teammates are also working on making their college choices.
Senior Whitney Wyckoff, who averaged 12.5 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, will visit Yale and is likely to commit to the Ivy League school.
Meanwhile, fellow seniors, Tazzie Shaw (9.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg) will visit Marshall and Eastern Michigan, Molly Blomer (10.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg) visited Ohio Dominican and is considering Wofford and Otterbein, Aleth Pashi (3.3 ppg, 2.5 apg) has interest from Lincoln Memorial and Transylvania and Bernice Satterwhite (4 ppg, 3.2 rpg) has interest from Walsh.
Lakota East and Lakota West basketball players are beginning to receive interest from colleges. Two local athletes, Lakota West’s Monty Boykins and Lakota East’s Whitney Wyckoff, have already received offers.
Boykins, who will be a junior during the 2011-2012 season, most recently received an offer from the University of Toledo, according to Pulse Journal reporter Steven Matthews. Boykins had already received an offer from Miami (Ohio) University prior to the start of his sophomore season.
This past season, Boykins averaged 12.5 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.
Drew also confirmed that fellow seniors-to-be Alyssa Grevenkamp (Valparaiso and Findlay), Tazzie Shaw (Eastern Kentucky, Marshall and Akron) and Molly Blomer (Austin Peay and Charleston) have received interest from schools.
Statistically, Wyckoff (12.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg), Grevenkamp (9.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg), Shaw (9.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg) and Blomer (10.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg) all performed well during the 2010-2011 season.
On another note, Lakota East might be able to add Olivia Wrencher to its roster next season. Wrencher, who is a transfer from Lakota West, averaged 6.6 points and 4.8 rebounds per game in five games last season as the Firebirds’ center. In 24 games as a sophomore, during the 2009-2010 season, Wrencher scored 4.8 points and pulled down 4.8 rebounds per game.
Wrencher is enrolled at East, but has to be approved by the OHSAA. Drew has declined to comment until a decision has been made, which is expected to take place sometime in July.
Lakota West sophomore Monty Boykins has received his first Division I basketball scholarship. Last week, the 6-foot-3 guard received an offer from nearby Miami (Ohio) University.
“I am extremely happy for Monty, that he was able to get a Division 1 offer before his sophomore season has even started,” Lakota West head coach Sean VanWinkle said. “Miami University has shown a very big commitment to him and I know he and his family appreciate that.”
Boykins received the offer Friday, Oct. 1, when Miami assistant coach Jimmy Lallathin, who previously worked as an assistant coach at Lakota West High School, gave the sophomore a phone call.
“Monty has worked very hard over the past five or six months and will be one of the better players in the GMC this season,” VanWinkle said.
“The sky is the limit and I am very anxious to see this young man mature into a very good basketball player.”
Boykins gained exposure on the state level this summer playing for the Cincinnati Lakers AAU team, according to westfirebirds.com.
Last season, as a freshman, Boykins played in the Firebirds’ last seven games. He started six times and averaged 4.6 points per game.