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Some cry foul over JV Basketball try-outs

Coach Jeff Bickmore advises Junior Cal Wilson during Basketball PE. Coach Bickmore says that enrolling in Basketball PE can help an athlete’s chances of making the Basketball team. Photo by Josh Howser

Recent Junior Varsity Boys Basketball try-outs have caused concern about whether football players are being given preferential treatment over non-football athletes.

Some parents and students have questioned whether it was okay for the JV Basketball team to cut players, and then hold a separate try-out for football players a week later due to their extended season.

Anthony Vierra, a sophomore basketball player who was cut, voiced his concerns on the issue.

“Before try-outs, they already had the teams made,” he said. “Like, they said that you had to have played summer ball to be on the team, which I played one game but they weren’t allowed, and then they are saving spots for the Football players that haven’t even tried out and they don’t give anyone else a chance.”

Another cut sophomore, Aj Derise, agreed with Vierra, citing not playing Summer Basketball or Basketball PE as the reason he was cut.

“I completely agree with Vierra,” he said. “They already had (the teams) before tryouts, and I think doing Basketball PE and summer basketball played into it. Like if you do Summer Basketball and Basketball PE, you basically have a spot on the team even if you weren’t that good. … I didn’t do Basketball PE or Summer Basketball so I didn’t get on the team. I think that they were prioritizing the football players.”

Even though these students feel the football players were favored, Head Basketball Coach Jeff Bickmore shared his reason they did not make the team.

“Saying that they were cut because we were just saving spots for football players isn’t true,” Coach Bickmore explained. “Anyone who was cut, it was because … I walked around and evaluated and saw who I thought should be on the team or not.”

Coach Bickmore said he did not conduct any try-outs alone. He said co-coaches ran the try-outs while he made his main priority evaluating each player and making the final decision whether they should be on the team or not. Coach Bickmore added that the Junior Varsity team had a much bigger pool of top-notch athletes, therefore it was much more difficult to make the JV team this year versus previous years.

“This particular year, it was a pretty difficult year, especially on the JV team,” Coach Bickmore said. “… So, now when we were trying to make a sophomore team, you know that some of the kids who didn’t play last year definitely were at a disadvantage, and even some of the players that were coming back from the year before.”

Though the reason for players being cut was purely skill-based, Coach Bickmore said he can understand how people thought that Football players were factored into the decision.

“I can understand how they might think that certain spots are saved, but the spots of the football players that are coming out, most of those kids either played Summer Basketball, or they’re in Basketball PE,” he said. “They’re kids that I’ve seen and evaluated and I know enough about them to kind of see (and compare). … I know which ones should make the team or not.”

Joe Guerra, another cut sophomore, doesn’t feel that the football players were the reason he was cut.

“I don’t really have a problem with it,” he said. “I think he’s just holding spots for players on the team last year that proved themselves and the coach probably believes that they still can do that. They can still play on the team, so I think he’s just holding a spot for them.”

Guerra also expressed some sympathy for the players having to try-out a week later.

“I think it’s fine that they have a second try-out because, for the football players that are on Varsity, they deserve to be up in the Playoffs,” he said. “They’ve played well, and the people who got pulled up, it would be hard for them to go to the first try-outs if they were still playing football.”

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Some cry foul over JV Basketball try-outs