Hinman easing into leading role
Winning isn't everything, but when is comes to basketball that's what Wes Hinman loves most.
Hinman, who is a starting forward for the Eudora boys basketball team, never imagined six years ago he would still be playing organized basketball.
"In sixth grade, I hated going to games," the junior said. "I always dreaded them because I was afraid of screwing up somehow."
Basketball just wasn't as much fun as playing with his buddies at recess, he said. Things changed.
"In seventh grade, I really started warming up to playing," he said. "Now I'm glad my parents made me go in sixth grade."
Hinman saw some of his hard work pay off Dec. 19 at Wellsville when he posted a game-high 16 points for the Cardinals.
"Tuesday night (Dec. 19) was my best game of the season," Hinman said. "It felt good, but only getting four rebounds was a bit of a downer. I really want to be a good rebounder for the team. It's something I need to keep working on."
"He played tremendously in Wellsville. It was kind of a glimpse of what he is capable of doing. I think he has the chance to be one of the best post players in the league," Coach Chad Eshbaugh said.
Hinman is averaging eight or nine points per game and about eight rebounds. He scored 11 in Monday night's game against Lansing. Last year, he averaged four points a game and three rebounds, Eshbaugh said.
Over the summer, Hinman played in a summer league in Ottawa with several other Eudora players. His team lost only two games during the summer session and finished near the top of the league.
Since his freshman year, Hinman has seen some playing time with varsity, which was almost stunted by an injury in the fall of that year. Hinman tore his anterior cruciate ligament toward the end of football season and wasn't sure if he would get to play basketball.
"That definitely would've been tough to deal with if I couldn't have kept playing basketball," he said.
He made it through and now can't tell which knee was injured.
Hinman would like to consider himself a team leader for the team now.
"I still have a lot to learn and work on. I'm looking forward to improving," he said.
On game nights, Hinman is all basketball, but is not without a few jitters.
"I am always really nervous and thinking only about the game," he said. "I'm thinking of what I have to do and getting into the right state of mind to play."
Eshbaugh said he expects a lot of Hinman defensively when he's on the court. He is looking for a little more consistency out of him this season.
"Sometimes before games, coach says to me 'double double or 12-8,'" Hinman said.
Even though he said that Eshbaugh is half-joking, he tries his best to accomplish it.
Hinman is a bit modest, but he does take his role with the team seriously and knows where he needs the most improvement.
"I would be a tougher, stronger player if I didn't foul as much," he said.