Henry Wilson knows Hickman boys basketball has its work cut out for itself.
The Kewpies graduated nine seniors last year, leaving Wilson, a senior this year, on a quest to see which other teammates can join him to make up a starting five.
“Literally everyone here is new besides me,” Wilson said. “We’ve got a lot of youth, but a bunch of super talented guys that work really hard.”
The good news is Hickman has talent.
The Kewpies surrounding Wilson are rising players who can operate in the post and can stretch up near the rim. George Nickolaus and Keshawn Oliver are athletic players who are also seniors this year.
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However, the most significant aspect is how Hickman coach Cray Logan said this year’s Kewpies have some of the best intangibles of all high school athletes.
“The beauty of it is that we have extremely hard-working kids,” Logan said. “They are extremely hard-working and they desire to be coached. They have a hunger.”
The way Logan knows this is how the Kewpies pay attention in practice.
When Logan and the rest of the Hickman coaching staff are speaking or trying to get a point across, Logan can see how the players are actively taking these lessons in.
“Anytime a coach is talking to them, their shoulders face toward you, their eye contact,” Logan said. “These kids want to be coached, and sometimes that’s hard to find.”
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To Wilson, that coaching ability is a boon. Especially as Hickman was no stranger to losing heartbreaking games last season, when the Kewpies finished 10-12.
Those losses can be fixed easily, but it takes concentration in the preseason.
“I think we lost like seven games from free throws that we could’ve made last year,” Wilson said. “It’s just stuff that you’ve got to work on first, put the hours in because the feeling of not getting it after is way worse.”
That’s part of the preseason process to figure out who will be out there with the Kewpies on a regular basis.
Wilson is watching, and he hopes by the time the season is in high gear, he’ll be able to have a team and a bench to count on in the most crucial parts of a game.
“I’m confident that out of everyone, we’re going to find six, seven guys by February that I can trust,” Wilson said. “Just got to find those guys.”
Hickman boys basketball at a glance
Last year’s record: 10-12
Key returnees: Henry Wilson, Keshawn Oliver
Key departures: Jordan Rooney (all-district), Seth Larson (all-district)
Kewpies’ boys basketball schedule
11/29-12/3 51st Annual Peoples Bank & Trust Invitational
12/8 @ Smith-Cotton — 7:30 pm
12/11 vs. Raytown South
12/11 Norn Stewart Classic vs Raytown South — 4:00 am
12/13 vs. Capital City High — 7:30 pm
12/18 vs. Jackson — 1:00 pm
12/27-30 Coaches vs Cancer Tournament
1/7 @ Ozark — 6:30 pm
1/10 vs. Mehlville
1/12 @ Father Tolton Regional Catholic — 7:30 pm
1/14 vs. Mexico HS — 7:30 pm
1/15 Hall of Fame Game
1/18-21 CW Stessman Invitational
1/24 @ Helias Catholic — 7:30 pm
1/28 vs. Boonville — 7:30 pm
2/1 vs. Blair Oaks — 7:30 pm
2/8 vs. Jefferson City — 7:30 pm
2/15 @ Rock Bridge — 7:30 pm
2/18 vs. Battle — 7:30 pm
2/23 vs. SLUH
Chris Kwiecinski is the sports editor for the Columbia Daily Tribune, overseeing University of Missouri and Boone County sports coverage. Follow him on Twitter @OchoK_ and contact him at CKwiecinsk@gannett.com or 435-414-3261.
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