A Trio of Talented Freshmen Bring Excitement to Cougar Basketball

Dashaun Grant, Nigel Lucas and A.J. Smalls help bring a spark of energy to the team


(Left to right) freshmen Nigel Lucas and Aj Smalls are two of the talented freshmen trio bringing excitement to Cougar basketball.

Emma Lewis, Editor in chief

This season, the boys’ varsity basketball team features players from all grades who have impressive athletic capabilities. Among these are freshmen Dashaun Grant, Nigel Lucas and A.J. Smalls, sophomore Jaden Valentine, and juniors David DaRosa, Isaiah Pipkin and Andres Prince, who have all impressed their coach, Todd Seymour.

Freshmen Grant, Lucas and Smalls have posted significant statistics for the regular season. Lucas has played 14 games and averages 8.9 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. Smalls has played 18 games and averages 7.2 points and 1.6 rebounds per game. Grant has played two games and averages four points and 1.5 rebounds per game.

“The three freshmen have really performed beyond expectations this year. They all bring toughness and high basketball I.Q. to the table. Dashaun is very good at getting to the rim and is a tremendous defensive player. Nigel has a great all-around offensive game and has been able to guard the opposing team’s top guard most of the season,” Seymour said. “A.J. has been one of our more consistent three point shooters this year and has really improved in our ball screen offense attacking the rim and finding open shooters.”

The talented youth generate excitement in the potential for seasons to come.

“We play in one of the top conferences in the state, and we have three freshmen who have proven that they can compete and excel against teams that have mostly juniors and seniors,” Seymour said.

Another underclassman, Jaden Valentine, has become a beneficial addition, and Seymour is also looking forward to his future with the team.

“Jaden had a great season for our JV team and has shown that he can be a true point guard at the varsity level as well. He has a pass-first mentality and great vision. He also is a great defender,” Seymour said.

Fellow teammate, junior Andres Prince, agrees that the three freshmen starters are a strong advantage for the Cougars.

“They bring a lot of energy, and I think some of them start. For the most part, they hype us up and bring us to a whole new level,” Prince said.

In terms of their attributes as players, Prince believes the friendly rivalry is a nice addition.

“They’re always competing with each other, and they have a good relationship on and off the court,” Prince said.

Looking in advance at his senior season, Prince is hopeful.

“The new people that are coming in. I think we have some good chemistry, and I think we’ll be pretty good next year,” Prince said.

Seymour knows that the junior boys influence the already special talent on the varsity team.

Seymour said, “Our junior class has a group of kids that really compliment our young kids. David DaRosa has been a steady player for us all year. He comes to every workout and practice and always competes at a high level. Isaiah is very new to the game but has a ton of potential with his length and athleticism. Andres has been a steady player in our program for three years now. We have very high hopes for our junior class going forward.”