After completing one of the most difficult schedules in the country, the Our Savior New American boys varsity basketball team wrapped up its season last week with a 2-1 showing down at the National Prep Showcase tournament in Myrtle Beach.
Characterized but ultimate team play and unselfishness, the team finished 14-9, while playing some of the top teams in the nation. When watching OSNAS play, one could expect to see a very up-tempo, fun, fast style with the players playing with freedom. The team experienced tremendous growth throughout the year, with the individual players each developing dramatically.
Head coach for the Pioneers for the last 25 years said, “This group improved every single day, the commitment to hard work and preparation in this team may be one of the best I have seen. This was a fun team to coach and they have a lot to be proud of.” Eric Jaklitsch, associate head coach for the last 10 years echoed a similar thought, “this group of kids gave it everything they had each day, despite the adversity and challenges that came this season, the kids pushed through it and became stronger because of it. Not only are they better basketball players, but better young men and that is our main focus. I couldn’t be more proud of these kids.”
Jalen Williams: Three-year varsity starter, Jalen posted career high numbers in multiple statistical categories. As one of the consistent players for the Pioneers, Jalen averaged 8ppgs/3 apg/1spg. In addition to being so steady, Jalen had multiple 15+ point performances in key tournaments in Las Vegas (NV), Nashville (TN), and Myrtle Beach (SC).
Clarence Nadonly: Arguably one of the most improved players for Our Savior, Clarence saw extreme growth in his personal play, which directly correlated to improved team success. Clarence jumped on to the national scene with his unique passing and play-making ability. Statistically, Clarence posted averages of 10ppg/4rpg/4apg/2spg. He impacted every facet of the game on both ends of the floor, which proved critical for team success.
Jefferson Koulibaly: Only a sophomore, Jefferson stepped into a primary perimeter role for OSNAS. Known for his defensive prowess, Jefferson developed other areas of his game such as scoring, play-making, ball-handling, and team leadership. Making a difference on both ends of the floor, Jeff helped the Pioneers be one of the best offensive transition teams in the state. He posted 10ppg/4rpg/3apg/2spg.
Hassan Drame: As one of the teams most versatile players, Hassan brought a unique skill set to the Our Savior squad. Hassan’s game was characterized by balance; scoring, rebounding, assisting, defending, and leading. He was a vital player defensively in guarding positions 1 through 5. Offensively, Hassan grew to be a threat from all three levels. Season averages were 9ppg/8rpg/2apg/ 2spg.
Fousseni Drame: One of the most valuable players for Our Savior was Fousseni Drame. Personally, he made jumps in his game unmatched by any other. Scoring efficiently at all three levels, Fousseni led the team in 3PT%, dramatically improved his mid-range scoring, and was an elite finisher around the rim. Every single game this year he was a force on both sides of the ball. Truly exemplifying what a true teammate should be, Fousseni saw career highs and led the team in scoring (13ppg) and rebounding (9rpg).
Adama Sonago: Playing significant minutes as a freshmen, Adama Sonago showed signs of being a special player. Extremely skilled in the post with good hands and feet, Adama is a force to be reckoned with. His ability to run the floor for his size at 6’9” makes Adama a unique talent. He consistently brought value to the team but rebounding, blocking shots, and scoring around the rim. He won player of the game multiple times, and highlighted the season with a 23-point, 13 rebound, 5-block game vs. Neumann-Goretti. Season averages were 9ppg/7rpg/2bpg.
TJ Sherman: One of Our Saviors sharpshooters, TJ’s game fit perfectly with what OSNAS did. His ability offensively to stretch the floor and shoot it from deep really opened the floor for his teammates. Defensively, he was a lockdown on ball-defender who brought an aggressiveness that his teammates fed off of. TJ brought it everyday and improved significantly as the year progressed. Look to see him continue to play a key role on the Our Savior varsity team.
Zatai Townsend: OSNAS achieved the level of success on the floor in large part because of the heady play of Zatai Townsend. Each game, he brought a calming confidence to the team with his consistent and efficient play. His ability to stretch the floor with his shooting and effective pick-n-roll game, Zatai brought a key offensive threat off the bench that was vital for team success. His will to overcome adversity, commitment to being a team player, and strong work ethic make Zatai a shining light for the Pioneers in the years to come.
Kyle McPherson: With a thin front-line, Kyle brought an essential physicality and presence in the paint. Kyle played tremendous defense and imposed his will on both ends of the floor. He brought it every day in practice and made our team the best it could be. Kyle’s offensive skills improved as the year progressed and it showed in the games. Kyle exemplifies what a teammate should be.