Basketball Kicks Off at McKinley High School


McKinley High School students practice basketball drills at Sheridan Park. Photo by Jerome Linear

Jerome Linear

The new basketball season for McKinley High School is coming up, and some students are putting in extra training after practice to guarantee their chances to play for McKinley’s basketball team.
Sophomore Jeremiah Samuelu said he remembers freshman year when he didn’t have the opportunity to play for the team due to COVID 19. Now Samuelu conditions at the local courts with other students after school to improve his chance of making the team this year.
Samuelu said he is excited, nervous, and anxious for basketball season. He’s also very determined to make the basketball team.
“I’m working hard to at least pass tryouts. I’m not the best at basketball but I still think I have a chance to make the team,” he said.
Like many other students during this preseason, Samuelu has been improving his skills for this season. Various conditioning activities include physical exercises, pickup games, and form shooting. McKinley students of all grades usually go to courts after to play some quick games or practice a variety of drills to develop their skills.
For junior Devyn-Jonah Maluyo, practice has been tiring but beneficial to his basketball skill. Like many other students, Maluyo has strengths and weaknesses that he needs to work on to better his game. He describes his feelings for practice as difficult, beneficial, useful and joyful.
“I’m starting to understand my strengths and weaknesses. I’m also learning how to develop my drive, which is something that I’ve struggled on,” Maluyo said.
McKinley students who played for McKinley’s basketball team before are very few, and the team only has two returnees. However, these new young athletes have a lot of energy and confidence and believe as the season progresses that they’ll improve overall as a better team.
“Help from others has really helped me through practice. Without them this would be very difficult,” Maluyo said.
Students that are planning to try out have been involved and flexible with the coach, Donald Kamai. He said the talk of tryouts has made students more responsible and consistent in being able to be eligible for tryouts.
He said this shows how students are determined to play basketball for McKinley.
“Honestly, after not having a season, I think we’re just looking forward to going through the grind of a season and appreciating a lot of the things we took for granted when we were playing regularly,” Coach Kamai said.