Boys varsity basketball team identifies top performers


Lucia Ramirez

Beto Morales shoots his free throws after being fouled by a Manor player.


When Akins varsity basketball players hit the court before a game, it’s easy for them to make assumptions that will their performance.

Sometimes they decide they don’t have to play their hardest because the team isn’t known for being a strong opponent. Some players will then only perform at a minimum level instead of playing their hardest.

“We take it easy on opponents that we think we can beat,” said senior Marc Duran. “And that’s a real big problem with us. Like against San Marcos High School we should have honestly killed them, but we played to their level.”

Getting into the right mindset before games is just one of the challenges that the boys Eagles Varsity Basketball team is facing this year as they begin their regular season.

This year, the team is lead by junior Alfred Ortiz, who is a third-year varsity team starter. Last year, he was the team’s offensive player of the year. Culver said he is glad to see junior Beto Morales stepping up this year and showing a lot of maturity and leadership potential. He said he thinks they will be top performers this year.

Ortiz said he thinks the team is doing a better job this year of working together as a whole.

“We’re doing best in like communicating and like being a team,” he said. “Because last year we weren’t more like a team and now we get along better together.”

Culver said the team has had to work through some leadership challenges early in the preseason.

“We only had I think three guys returning that have varsity experience so we got new guys and this is their first year playing at a high level and a lot of those are seniors,” Coach Culver said. “Our juniors that we have are doing a great job. They’re experienced and they’re trying to kind of get out of their comfort zone and be the leaders and be the vocal guys since they are considered upperclassmen now.

For some of the seniors, this is their first year playing on a varsity team.

“Some seniors are trying to learn as they go and also try to be the leaders of the team since they’re the oldest so it’s definitely been a challenge,” he said.

Culver said he is pleased that the team has a 5-3 record before starting district games.

“We’ve shown promise there,” Culver said. “Now is just being able to play through adversity being able to play the lead. We’ve had the lead and pretty much every game so the games that we have lost is just not being able to finish and battle through adversity.”

One example of adversity the team faces is that the Eagles team does not have a lot of tall players. Senior Sherrod Whitley said it’s a challenge for them to go up against teams with players that are 6’7” or 6’10”.

“So like we’ve got to play small balling. We really like really box out and try to get big with the other team,” Whitley said.

The height problem was a factor in the Del Valle game where the Eagles lost by three points.

Culver said he is pleased with how the team is developing. And so far the team as a record of 3-10 as reported he just wants the team to remember to have fun this season as it goes against some strong basketball programs this year.

“Winning is important but it’s not the most important thing,” he said. “I want the kids to have a good experience to have fun and to develop as young men.”