Taking the lead

Boys basketball team invests in community

Basketball is a team sport focused on effort and communication. If  the players aren’t connected, the whole game falls apart. In order for players to win they need to be able to trust their teammates and read and communicate. Bonding with each other on and off the court is essential when coming to basketball. This is why head coach Jonathan Hines finds it very important that the team works with kids in the community. His hopes are that as players get more involved and comfortable with each other off the court, they will start bringing it on  the court as well, while also positively affecting the community. 

“By being involved in the community, I hope that my guys develop pride, selflessness, responsibility, and effective communication skills,” Hines said. “Many of our younger students look up to our student athletes.”

With so many young eyes on student athletes Hines believes his players have a responsibility to the community to act as role models. 

“They live in the same community, play at the same parks, and attend the same schools,” Hines said. “Because of this, our student athletes have an enormous responsibility to promote the values that helped them be successful students and players on the court. These values help to lift up our communities to strive for excellence in both athletics and the classroom. I believe athletics is a pivotal avenue to improve community and school relations. Our athletes play a key role in the success of this relationship.” 

Coach Hines said he is proud of the impact his players have had on the children in the community now that they have been able to build relationships with them through outreach programs.

“Prior to the beginning of the season, several of our players helped with a reading literacy night at Jane Long,” Hines said. “Our guys promoted literacy through the facilitation of mini games and reading activities. I enjoyed watching our guys interact with Jane Long students and families attending the event. In addition our team members attended an event at the Boys & Girls Club earlier this year to strengthen relationships with future Vikings.”

Senior Malcom Gooden plays forward on the varsity basketball team and is proud that his team has made a positive impact on younger kids. 

“The kids look up to us,” Malcom said. “So it’s really cool that they trust us and think of us as their heroes. We want to impact them and help them become future Viking leaders.” 

Jane Long English teacher Andrea Alvarado recognizes how the high school athletes impacted her intermediate students when they came to campus.

“The students look up to older kids and see them as role models, especially ones that are active in various sports and activities,” Alvarado said. “If a younger student sees those high school students take an interest in academics, like math or reading, then they start to think that it’s actually ‘cool’ to also take an interest in their academics too.”

Hines also hopes that if the players focus on the community, it will reflect well on their attitudes. 

“We have many guys that enjoy promoting themselves and the program,” Hines said. “Overall, I believe being involved in the community helps build pride in what we are doing here at Bryan High. I believe the guys are excited about the program and their role in continuing to drive the success of this program forward.”

Although Hines wants to add wins to the record column, it does not override his view that school comes first,  which is why he believes that it is  important to help kids with their studies.  

 “I want young kids to find value in education,” Hines said. “I believe they can use the successes of our players to help promote positive habits in their own lives. Building better students and athletes at a young age will improve the school and community relationship and thus improve the culture within the athletic department and our campus.”

Malcom feels that what he and his team are doing is important and will set them up for their future. 

“We don’t just do athletic activites with the kids, we read books to them and they are always excited,” Malcolm said. “They come up to us and give us high fives and hugs and it makes me and the team happy to see their response. We always watch their games and we leave feeling more connected and excited about the future.”  

  Hines hopes his players learn to see their role as a student athlete as a privilege and responsibility beyond a scoreboard.

“There are more important things than winning basketball games,” Hines said. “I want to develop successful young men and hopefully win a lot of games along the way.”

Hines believes his players are building a community that will last a lifetime and have an impact for the years to come. 

“Players presenting themselves in a positive light will open doors down the road,” Hines said. “If our players decide to remain in the community, they will have opportunities based on the connections and perceptions that others have about them. Their qualities as men will be much more important than the number of points or rebounds they had while playing at Bryan High.”