The 2017-18 season was one to remember for the Maine-Endwell boy’s basketball team as they captured a section title.
While three key faces from that squad have moved on, some have returned this year and are eyeing a repeat.
That includes my Athlete of the Week.
“He’s a great kid. Personable, bubbly personality, always has a smile on his face. He always injects positivity and energy into whatever environment he’s in. We’re very fortunate to have him,” said M-E head coach Bill Ocker.
Those words spoken by Maine-Endwell head boy’s basketball coach Bill Ocker were to describe his starting point guard, Jack McFadden.
McFadden, who’s only a sophomore, is one of M-E’s biggest scoring threats and has the potential to take over games with his scoring and play-making ability.
But, that skill hasn’t just come out of nowhere.
“The kid put a ton of time in in the offseason. He’s not just a ‘be at practice from 3-5’ kid. He’s here before, we’re practicing in the offseason and he’s here before practice, he’s the last guy to leave practice. I’d get home and be eating dinner, and I’d be getting a text ‘Coach, is anyone in the gym? Can we go back up and shoot?’. So, he deserves everything that he gets, that’s for sure.”
Coach Ocker has seen firsthand the amount of work Jack has put in to hone his craft.
Jack was a key part of the Spartans team that won the Class A section championship last year.
But, after losing some key pieces, Jack knows that other guys have to step up.
“This year, yeah, we definitely lost Cody, and Sammy, and Tyree, those three seniors that we had. But, we have a lot of J.V. players that came up. They’re just like, the underdogs. They’re pushing themselves every practice, and they’re the young boys. So, we’ve got to show out, like they have something to prove,” says McFadden.
As a whole, the team wants to prove that last year wasn’t a fluke.
They want to show that they can do it again, and hang with some of the other section throughout the state.
“Of course, section’s is always the goal. But, just grind every game, and try to be as fast as Section 1 and Section IX so once we get there, it’s not a surprise how fast it is.”
Jack first started playing basketball around 5 or 6 years old, after giving up hockey.
He told me his dad got him into basketball, but he also drew inspiration from his brother, and now Jack hopes to make his whole family proud.
“Growing up, I had my brother, Johnny, he’s a senior in college right now. All his friends played with coach Ocker. So, I just looked up to them as I was coming through as a young guy. And my parents push me every day. So, I wake up and I’m blessed to have them in my life. And my brother, and all my uncles and aunts, and all them. They just push me, I do it for them. I just want to make them happy one day.”
Jack has undoubtedly made everyone proud already.
But, there’s always room for more motivation on a daily basis.
Jack followed up a 24 point performance last Tuesday with a 31 point showing on Friday.
Next up for him and the Spartans is Vestal on Tuesday at 7:15 pm.