Freshman boys’ basketball team improves basketball program


Sinclair Richman

The Freshmen Boys Basketball team had their first game on Saturday, Nov. 12 against North Atlanta. Midtown won 36-21.

Sinclair Richman

As basketball season ramps up, the freshman boys team is ready to prepare future varsity players.

Freshman Caruso Edwards points out the team’s value.

This will definitely help in the future, especially with me wanting to take basketball further in my career,” Edwards said. “It gives me the opportunity to work with higher competition that you might not get from rec ball, and this opportunity can hopefully get my name out there, which can open a lot of doors for me.”

Varsity boys basketball head coach Isaac Taylor said the freshman team allows players to grow and improve their skill set before going to junior varsity or varsity.

“The freshman team is a great opportunity for young men who are very good at basketball and need more experience playing at the high school level to develop their game and to get ready to go on varsity,” Taylor said. “There are a lot of kids who have played [on the] freshman [team], and who have been big pieces of what we do here at Midtown basketball. We can accredit freshmen to some of that.”

Senior Dylan Gustafson was on his freshman team until halfway through the season, when he was moved up to junior varsity. He has been on varsity since his sophomore year and thinks the freshman team sets the groundwork for players.

“In basketball, you kind of have to work your way up,” Gustafson said.“It starts at freshman basketball, [and] you’re not always gonna make varsity freshman year, but you have to start somewhere. So freshman year, it’s the team base of the [Midtown basketball] scene.”

Along with a foundation, Gustafson thinks the freshman team gives players confidence.

“Not everyone makes JV or varsity, so, if you’re a freshman, you can hoop on ninth grade basketball; you can ball out,” Gustafson said. “If you get more playing time, it just gives you more confidence, more opportunities to play, and it definitely does build up more confidence for you.”

Edwards thinks that the season will help build his and teammates’ confidence.

“This team can help freshmen with confidence because being able to say you’re on a school team is a huge accomplishment,” Edwards said. “[There is a sense of] pride you have, being able to wear a Midtown jersey and win games against other schools, [it] is a great feeling.”

First-year freshmen coach Myron Beard said the connection between players will continue to grow throughout the season.

“[Having the team]  just helps everybody believe in each other, and always depend on each other,” Beard said. “Whether you’re having a bad day, a good day, a good game or bad, we’re going to stick together.”

Taylor has seen the impact the freshman team has on the current varsity team. Five current varsity players were on the 2019-2020 freshman team, and Taylor thinks the current freshman team has the potential to make the same impact.

“Dylan Gustafson, Will Hunter, Bryant Graham, Rady Kronenberger [and] Brian Edwards — they all got the chance to play together their freshman year,” Taylor said. “Now, for them as seniors, they’ve been playing together for four years now, and practicing and just being around the game of basketball together, and they’ve watched each other grow to who they are now as seniors. I think that this Class of 2026 is getting the same opportunity to do the same thing just as the classes before them have as well.”