After taking part in a scrimmage over the weekend at Laurel, the Hopewell Boys junior high basketball team will tipoff their 2023-24 season this afternoon as they host the Beaver Bobcats.
Head coach Doug Biega (Gold Team) and Mike Gaguzis (Blue Team) have been working with their teams and are excited to see their players in real game situations. For those wondering, the junior high teams are a combination of both 7th and 8th grade students, with the Gold Team comprised of all 8th graders and the Blue Team being a mix of both grades.
To get you introduced to the players on both rosters, Hopewell Sports Nation asked both coaches to give us a short description of each player on their roster. Both Biega and Gaguzis are very familiar with these players having coached them previously in various leagues.
INTRODUCING THE HOPEWELL 2023-24 BOYS JUNIOR HIGH BASKETBALL TEAMS
HOPEWELL GOLD TEAM:
#0 Maddox Fattore Maddox has a nice skill set especially with his left hand. He has been with this group since the beginning. And he’s worked very hard on his strength and athleticism along with his grit. Tough kid. Maddox has gotten better every single year. I expect this year to be his best yet. He has a quiet confidence about him this season. #1 Manny Gomez Manny is my favorite player. Smaller guys have a way of not being intimidated by anything. He has always been used to being the underdog, so nothing phases him. We had practice jerseys for two days before he had blood stains on his. He’s my kind of kid. #2 Avery Bokor Another one that has been with us since the beginning. Puts in all the necessary time. Very high IQ for sports. Kind of utility knife. Plays all the positions even if his skill set does not fit those. Ultimate glue guy. Every team needs an Avery. #3 Jack Biega Was raised watching uber competitive athletics and athletes. Has never seen anything but winning in his life. Never says no to the work that needs put in. Since he was three years old, he has been working to get better in front of a variety of coaches and coaching styles. Definitely a work in progress but owns and embraces a work ethic, strength, and athleticism that when added up, can’t help but succeed. Perfect demeanor, and a very high character kid. His mom is also very pretty and married up. #5 Tre Cameron Yet another kid that been with us this entire ride. Smooth as silk. Sometimes makes it look too easy. He has an effortless style of play. His ceiling is ridiculously high. Every high-level team has and needs someone like him on them. He plays that role for us. Super high ceiling…He is a go guy. #10 Jayvion Lindsey A newcomer to this group. I coached his dad at Aliquippa. And he has Beaver Falls toughness in him. He came to us and fit in immediately. He also has a very flexible skill set so I can use him in a variety of places. If someone like him comes off your bench, you know you are a very good team. Championship DNA in this kid. #12 Kareem Hairston Newest member of this group. Just came to us in October. Elite athlete. Skill set is a work in progress. But he shows up every day. He is willing to do what is asked of him. Once he figures out what is required of him and what we need him to do in school, as well as on the court, he will be even more valuable than he currently is. #13 James Armstrong Manchild. He is a generational talent. We are very lucky to have someone like him in our group. Not only is he, by far, the best athlete, but he works his tail off in the gym every single day. Leads by example. He is the main reason I invited Donovan Jeter onto my staff. I need him to see someone who has been where he wants to be. They are bonding and James is a sponge. He talks a lot, but that comes with his age. He is special and a pleasure to coach. #21 Aaden Gonzalez Tremendous role-player. Comes in and works every single day. He is forbidden to use his hands 9 months out of the year, because he is a high-level soccer player, but figures out a way to get it done in crunch time. Last year was his first real year as a participating roster player. And he was in at the end of a huge win at Montour because he earned our trust. Very enjoyable to Coach. High character kid. #24 Brody Rock Also, a new member of this group, but not a new member to how we do things. Brody puts in endless hours of hard work to become what he is. Ridiculously high-level football player. Comes onto the basketball court and transfers that toughness and team concept seamlessly with this group. I can’t put into words how excited I am to finally get the coach him when the real bullets start flying. Can’t wait to see him battle with us this year. Truly a tremendous attribute and pick up for this group. Takes us to a whole other level. #31 Tyler Armour Tyler has been with this group from the beginning. Shows up and puts in the work on and off-season every single year. Plays basketball year-round, and truly cares to get better every single season. Great length and a desire to do whatever is asked of him.
HOPEWELL BLUE TEAM:
#33 Zach Sampson
A tall/long guard. His primary role this season will be a big one, to control and lead our offense.
#4 Ryan Gaguzis
Will be one of our guards. Good ball handler and shooter. Has a good basketball IQ.
#13 Luke Vukovcan
A guard/forward with strength. Gives us some additional size at the guard position. Brings excellent intensity and solid defender.
#20 Andrew Arzberger
A forward that brings us size underneath. Also gives us a something different down low with him being left-handed. Very good at jumping passes.
#22 Nykyeron Leonara
A big body forward that gives us a presence down low. Has good footwork for a big guy.
#14 Josh Gill
A guard that’s a good shooter and sees the court well.
#11 Jackson Yurcina
A guard that’s a good ballhandler for us and is very quick on defense.
#3 Jaxen Covalt
A guard that’s a very smart player. Quick on defense and is relentless.
#30 Reed Budavich
A forward, is great a getting involved and scrapping for the ball.
#32 Braxton Pinto
A forward, tall with long arms, takes up and creates space down low, isn’t afraid to bang on the boards.
#34 Luca Santia
A guard, always gives effort and always hustles on the court. A very unselfish player.
As mentioned earlier, their first game is this afternoon starting at 3:30 PM at the Hopewell Junior High School.