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Radford’s Legends Continue

Senior Michael Wheeler makes the winning shot.

Senior Michael Wheeler makes the winning shot.

Provided by Blue Heron Photography

Senior Michael Wheeler makes the winning shot.

Provided by Blue Heron Photography

Provided by Blue Heron Photography

Senior Michael Wheeler makes the winning shot.

Radford’s Legends Continue

Boys' basketball triumphs in yet another successful start of the season.

The Radford Varsity Boy’s basketball team is beginning the season with a promising outlook,  considering they are starting out with fifteen wins under their belt. Two of these wins are  the “Bridge” rivals, the Pulaski Cougars (65-53) and (69-67). After last year’s state championship victory, the teammates and coaches have a consistent hunger to return yet again, for what could be the fifth time in the past decade. Head Coach, Rick Cormany, is nothing shy of experienced when it comes to his knowledge of the game and his ability to communicate skills and lessons to his players. Cormany is in the midst of his 24th season as a basketball coach at RHS, and has been in the coaching profession for 36 years, overall. “I just like getting to know the student-athlete in a different setting, not just during the school day, but when they’re actually doing something they enjoy doing.” Coaching is not just a job, but is an opportunity to instill many life lessons and habits into the hearts of the athletes they instruct. Cormany fully grasps the window that his job as the varsity head coach opens. “The most important part [of coaching] to me, is to try and help develop character in the young people and to help them to understand the importance of being a team player. Whether it’s in sports or anything they choose to do in life,” says Cormany.

 “Coach Cormany has taught me life skills like toughness and hard work; these skills will help me with whatever I encounter in life,” says Michael Wheeler, senior guard as well as forward on the team.

 In addition to the regular season practices, basketball team holds non mandatory practices throughout the off-season, and the guys are heavily encouraged to lift, in order to strengthen their bodies and better equip them for overall success during the season. Scheduled lifting begins in April at the conclusion of each season. Ben Fisher, assistant coach to Cormany, is also a certified strength coach who works with the players in the weight room and does an “outstanding job,” says Cormany.

Considering the basketball program has received the 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2016 title of state champions, there is a lot of pressure riding on the young shoulders of the team this year. There are three seniors on the team, and only one returning starter from last year, Quinton Robertson. The majority of last year’s points were scored by last year’s seniors, which means this year’s team must rise to the occasion in order to fill the newly formed gaps. “This is a young team; we’ve got seven sophomores,” says Cormany. “We only have three seniors and expectations are always high here for the basketball program.” “The main thing we try to do with the guys is take some of that pressure away by saying it’s up to them to get better each day, in each game, and then just see where it takes us,” Cormany explains.

 Due to the success in Richmond last year, the team was recently recognized by none other than Lebron James, an American professional athlete and current member of the Cavaliers NBA team. Each member of the Bobcats basketball team received a letter signed by Lebron himself, as well as a new pair of basketball shoes to sport on the court. “A Nike representative contacted me by email and wanted to know more about our championship run to the state. At the time she asked if I could get shoe sizes.” Little did the coaches or players know that Lebron James would be sending the Radford High School basketball team each personal notes of encouragement as well as supplying every player with new Nike basketball shoes. The note reads:

    

November 15, 2016   

Bobcats,

The whole state is chasing you now. You earned that. There are no nights off when you’re No 1. Believe me.Stay humble and hungry and give every game everything. That’s how greatness happens. I’ll be watching.  

 

 The gift has even moreso motivated the players by instilling in them a drive to continue their hard work and put in the many extra hours of sweat necessary to achieve their dreams, much like the example set by basketball star, Lebron James.

 “Getting the letter and shoes from Lebron motivated us all to go back and do it again,” says Alante Doyle, senior and small forward. Alante has been playing the game of basketball since he was seven years old and reminisces on the feelings brought along with the title of state champion. “It was very magical. In the beginning, we were all really nervous, but once you get in the flow of the game you get used to playing and the nerves go away,” says Doyle. As one of the three seniors, Doyle embraces his role as a leader and does his part in pushing his team to the peak of the abilities. “My role is to show the younger guys to take everything as it comes one at a time, the defensive stops, the games, everything one at a time,” he says.

 Basketball is a big deal to Radford citizens, and the young men who have and are participating in the program have earned all the respect they are given. Under the instruction of a tough, yet effective coach, Radford Bobcat basketball has had the opportunity to achieve the ultimate goal on multiple occasions and they have every intention on continuing the legacy this year.

 

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