Eads Boys’ Basketball program has struggled for many seasons and have not gotten far into the post season since the 2010 season. Eads last won a state championship in 2003 when now head coach Marcus Gilmore was a sophomore. Gilmore went on to a legendary career in Eads setting three scoring records as a senior including most points in a season (637), highest points per game average in the season (27.7), and most 3-pointers in a season (92). Gilmore, who was the assistant boys’ coach last year, will now switch from player to general and will have a big job ahead of him during the transition. Gilmore will have Weston Meardon, himself an exceptional high school basketball player from Walsh, sitting on the bench serving as the assistant this year.
Eads finished a dismal 6-14 a year ago and in addition lost 7 players from that team including 5 seniors, 4 of them starters, and two others that won’t be playing this year. That leaves Gilmore with three seniors who were role players last year, one junior, two sophomores, and a slew of freshmen who love the game. According to Gilmore, “Overall our goal is to have a winning season. A lot of things are new this year so we’re moving slow but we got a good head start. This is crucial to our 3 seniors who we will demand a lot from this year.”
As mentioned, it will be the seniors who are left from the devastation of graduation and a non-participation attitude. But these seniors are solid individuals and they have stepped up to the plate so far embracing their leadership roles. They include Zach Haase, an extremely athletic player, who averaged 8.7 points per game including 19 long balls (2nd on the team). The key on Haase is that he led Eads last year in rebounds (132) using his outstanding jumping ability. Trey McDowell, a 5’8 senior, will play wingman for the Eagles this year. He averaged just 3.3 points per game last year but had 54 rebounds. His understanding of the game and what is needed from the individual players will be important for the team. The third senior, Damian Hernandez, is athletic and one of the hardest working players Gilmore has. He will bring his love of playing and aggressive defense to the court for Eads.
There is only one junior, Blake Stoker, who saw little varsity time last year. However, Stoker has grown and he is a player that can run forever. He is turning into a good addition for Gilmore, as well.
The sophomores include 6’0 Jonah Schofield and Dillon Hernandez. Schofield was a good rebounder in the JV games last year and will make a good go-to post player for Gilmore. The younger Hernandez is aggressive, like his brother, and should make great gains with Gilmore’s tutelage.
Eads will more than likely have a freshman varsity starter as Brigden Parker has shown good enough skills to be able to play at a high level. Look to Parker to struggle early with the shear physicality of high school sports, but the kid has excellent skills and basketball IQ. The rest of the team includes a slew of freshmen who love to play the game and who will support the JV group. They include Joe Haase, Brinden Williams, Hatch Nelson, and Brandon Lening.
Gilmore is confident his team could make some noise by the end of the season, “With the majority of our team underclassmen our success will depend highly on their ability to get better by the day. The seniors believe in what we’re doing which leads the way for the rest of our team.” He went on, “I’m excited for the boys. They come to practice and work, that’s a sign for good things to come. With the way we learn and work and with the luck of no injuries I think we can have a good year for Eads Boys’ Basketball.”
Eads will begin the 2017-18 season as they travel to Walsh on Saturday, December 2 for a 4:00 pm date with the Eagles in the south.