Posted On: 01/10/17 11:06 AM
2018 James Gardner Jr. of New Haven High School is one of the most over-looked young talents in the Fort Wayne area. James is one of the most energetic and hard-noised guards to play the game today. Gardner Jr. ran with Spiece Indy Heat Red 2018 and got to play at a high level this summer which really helped him develop his game.
James is an outstanding defensive player because of his quickness, athletic ability, and high basketball IQ. He never seems to run out of energy on the court and has had multiple games in which he has played the entire 32 minutes. He competes at a high level and is the leader for this New Haven team.
“Some goals we have are winning conference straight up and winning sectionals and moving forward.” New Haven tied for the Northeast Eight conference title last season but they are looking to take sole ownership this year. They recently knocked off one of the better Fort Wayne teams in the Fort Wayne area, FW Snider, at home.
Gardner Jr. is also one of the purest point guards in the Class of 2018 in Indiana. He doesn’t look for his own offense first and is a good passer. James is the kind of player that is on double-double watch on a nightly basis but it’s going to be done in the rebounding and assists category.
He is one of the best rebounding guards in the area and has been working on his athleticism and quickness in the off-season. James attacks the glass on both ends of the floor and is usually good for at least two or three offensive rebounds to give his team extra possessions.
“I believe that I bring energy to the team to get the guys going by making hustle plays.”
As a State long-jumper, Gardner Jr. has the athleticism to jump with the best of them at the high school level. He also participates in short distance sprints which shows when he has the ball in his hands in the open floor.
James is one of the fastest players end-to-end with the ball in his hands that the state of Indiana has to offer.
“Some goals that I have for myself are to score more and be a playmaker on not only defense, but offense too.” He has been focusing on being a contributor on both ends of the floor and his nightly stat-line is proof that he is being successful this season.
“Areas that I’m working on improving right now are making jump shots and just the offensive end in general.” Gardner Jr. can knock down open jump shots when he needs to but will need to develop a stronger and more confident jump shot for the next level.
New Haven is off to a 7-4 start this season with wins against FW Snider and Lake Central. Two of their losses have been by two points or less. This team has developed a tough-noised identity behind their point guards play this year.
They are all on the same page and understand what they need to do to be a good team. “Play Smart. Play Tough. Play Our Roles. Play Together.”
For an under-sized team, New Haven really battles on both ends and that all starts with the play of Gardner Jr. He is the toughest player night in and night out and his resiliency wears off on the rest of the team.
James is looking to play at the next level where he can continue his rapid development. This is what he is looking for at the next level, “a program where I can grow as an individual and also grow and learn on the court.”
James’ hard work is starting to pay off this season. Be on the lookout for Gardner Jr. to put together some impressive games as the season progresses. He will lead this Bulldog team in multiple categories and be a team player while doing it.
Basketball Preview Video from Parkview Sports Medicine: