By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– It’s kind of hard to keep basketball players off the court and on Friday afternoon, 15 athletes took to the court in Salem to work on their craft.
Some are entering their first year of college ball. Cascade’s Carson Molan (Chemeketa Community College), Stayton duo of Gabe Wigginton (Columbia Basin College) and Jacob Axmaker (Jamestown). Others are current college athletes, Silverton’s Isaac Semerikov (Corban University, McKay’s Skye Miller (Eastern Arizona College) and McNary’s Nate Meithof (College of Southern Idaho).
For Miller, the former Scot was one of female athletes playing in the short-games as she prepared for her second year at Eastern Arizona. The Monsters reached the Region-1 Championship game before falling to Arizona Western 68-56 this past season.
“This past year, it was kind of difficult, but then once I started coming out of my shell and being myself around my teammates and my coaches, it made it a lot easier not just to play basketball but grow and being a team with them,” Miller said of her first year of college ball in between games Friday. “It definitely helps. Last year we weren’t doing this before I went to my first year of college. So coming back here and playing against guys that aren’t afraid of playing against girls and play as they should…it’s very fun, it’s good competition and you get good reps in.
“Just trying new things in-game. Trying new things in practice. When you’re running, try in game situations, getting the reps that you need to get in, in when it’s actual game-like scenarios.”
Meithof is making the move from Westmont College to the College of Southern Idaho for his second year, coming off of a freshman campaign that saw the former Celtic win Conference Freshman of the Year averagine 18.6 points and 5.5 rebounds a game for a Warrior squad that went 17-14 this past Winter.
“It was pretty good,” Meithof said of his freshman year preparing for his next chapter of his playing career. “It’s just doing the same thing I’ve always been doing. Working in the gym, doing everything to get better. Getting in the weight room and getting bigger because I know the competition is going to get a lot tougher where I was at. I’m really excited. I’m really blessed with the opportunity and I’m going to take advantage of it. When I get out there (to CSI), I’m going to work everyday and just prove myself.”
Meithof points to how fun it is every time he comes into the gym this Summer in seeing different kids coming in to get reps in. Miller points to it too as the 15 athletes came in to improve on their crafts with the season looming in a few weeks.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald