A Look Inside Woodcroft Basketball

Jordan High School’s Unofficial Intramural Basketball League Brings Good Fun, Good Competition, and Big Personalities.


Caleb Stine, Staff Writer

DURHAM- On Monday, December 9th, the Woodcroft season will officially commence. The four-team age 16-17 recreational basketball league includes dozens of junior and senior Falcons and has been the topic of conversation for many Jordan students over the past couple of weeks.  


The four teams are all captained by Jordan students and are named after their captains. The teams include Team Stanley (Freddy), Team Crowley (Carson), Team Mountain (Nick), and Team Edwards (Jordan). 


Many players expressed excitement for the season to begin and for the opportunity to get on the court with their teammates, many of whom are also classmates or friends from school. Sam Ferrel of Team Mountain thinks that his team “will have great chemistry right off the bat…it won’t take time for us to get it clicking. We’re going undefeated.” Sam’s teammates Jameson O’Hara and (captain) Nick Mountain also agree with Sam’s confidence, with junior guard O’Hara claiming that “there’s only one outcome for this season–and that’s the national championship.” Team captain Nick boasted, “If we win a game by less than 25 points, I’ll be very surprised. It’s not a question of whether we’ll be undefeated.” How much money would Mountain bet on his team sweeping the league? “Two million dollars.”


While Josh Benson of Team Mountain wasn’t as confident as his captain, he did agree with Sam. “I feel like we definitely have chemistry going on our team. That’s gonna be a beneficial factor for us.” However, Josh was also quick to offer some constructive criticism to his team as well. “I feel like we gotta work a little bit on sharing the ball, especially with Bilal.” Benson also took shots at other teams, saying, “Team Edwards is ‘bout to be booty in Woodcroft.” 


Senior forward Abutu Ali of Team Edwards believes his team is solid, saying, “we have got some strong seniors on the squad. Frederick Dennard is nice.” Abutu is not taking Team Mountain’s claims too seriously. “Those are just little juniors”, he remarked. Rashaun Burt of Team Crowley was willing to admit that “Frederick Dennard will be a problem for every team this year.” However, Burt does not think that any other players will be a problem. “Other than him, I don’t see anyone in the league my team can’t hold under 10 points,” he said. 


Woodcroft basketball veteran Rashaun also believes that his team will go undefeated, whether people believe him or not. “Will my team win the league? Bud, my team is the league. Of course we’re gonna win it all. Every other team seems to think we suck or something. I will allow them to talk–they must not know that as long as I walk through the Valley of Death I fear no evil.” Rashaun’s teammate, senior forward Chris Holliday, is equally confident. “We’re definitely winning the ‘ship. To put it in writing: a league win is guaranteed,” he boasted. Noah Pelo also of Team Crowley claimed, “If everyone performs to the level I expect we WILL go undefeated, we WILL win the championship and I WILL  drain the game-winner.” 


Sean Michaels of Team Stanley is “very confident” in his team and undoubtedly believes his team will secure the league championship. “No one else threatens us. My team has a lot of weapons. Namely (seniors) Seddie Wibbels, Ryan Wilson, and Andrea Benz.” Andrea Benz, the only female player in the league, is “pretty confident about [her] team. I was on a team with similar people last year and we played well,” she said. Benz said that it “feels cool to be the only girl in the league. Everyone thinks it’s really neat that I play in the Woodcroft league.” Even though all of Andrea’s opponents this coming season will be males, she isn’t fazed, saying, “I treat these games as I would be playing against anyone, male or female.” Although Benz is proud to be the only female player in the league, she is “really passionate” about giving other female athletics a chance to diversify local sports leagues. “I would hope that I inspire other girls to play sports and break gender barriers,” she declared. 


Woodcroft basketball is not only competitive and filled with passionate play, but the quality of basketball is also said to be immensely high. “Honestly the talent in Woodcroft is unparalleled. There are easily a few future NBA players in the league,” believed Chris Holliday. “I have heard of someone getting recruited by a D3 school because of this league,” remarked Benz. 


When asked about his teammates’ stats for the upcoming season, junior guard Sam Ferrel remarked, “I’m leading the team in points and assists, Grant Bennett will lead the team in rebounds, and Jameson is gonna lead the team in half-court shots.” Bennett agreed: “I have seen a lot of people compare Sam Ferrel to Cole Anthony and Kyrie. … I am easily averaging 25 rebounds a game.” Holliday (Team Crowley) begged to differ. He claimed, “Grant is the biggest bust in the whole league. Period.” Nick predicted that the MVP of the league (and his team) will be “the sleeper pick, Jordan Thomas Leary.”


Although Abutu is a rookie in the league, he was willing to bet that he’ll lead the league in points. “I’m probably gonna average 30 points a game,” he insisted. Noah Pelo clearly found this comment preposterous, “Abutu? [stifled laughter] Abutu is the worst hooper east of the Mississippi,” he laughed. 


Although Sean regarded Ryan and Seddie as some of Team Stanley’s best players, Rashaun was skeptical of this claim, cautioning students “to not believe the hype” about Ryan and Seddie. “They both suck and will both be sick after they play my team,” Rashaun reminded the Falcon Post. Sean called out Rashaun in response, insisting, “I would like to let it be known that if [Rashaun] tries to guard me I’m dropping 40.” 


Regardless of petty boasts or playful claims, this year’s Woodcroft players are thankful for the chance to play in such an enjoyable league. “I’m excited that I have an opportunity to play where it isn’t time-consuming like an AAU league,” Andrea stated. Chris also sees the value of the league, agreeing that “Woodcroft empowers youth to find their independence whilst also being on a team.” 


Sean Michaels encouraged fellow Falcons, Durhamites, and others to pack the stands of Githens Middle School for the next couple of months. “Woodcroft basketball is the greatest quality and entertainment value offered in the state of North Carolina.”