Posted On: 02/20/18 10:05 AM
The St. Cloud Apollo Eagles came into this season with a lot of question marks surrounding them, with a new coach and a number of returning players, what would this season have in store for them?
With the regular season winding down to an end, Apollo currently sits with a 9-13 overall record and a 4-8 mark in conference. They have proven to be a tough matchup for a lot of teams this season, playing a hectic, up-tempo style with a very athletic roster. They will be a scary opponent to play in the coming weeks, however, one player that will make them tough to play the next couple of seasons will be sophomore point guard, Michael Gravelle.
“What Gravelle lacks in height he makes up for with tenacity and grit” says Eagles head coach Jason Allen. The 5’8” sophomore has used that tenacity and grit to average 9.6 PPG, 2.5 REB, 3.2 AST, 1.6 STL and shoot 35% from deep this season.
Central Lakes Conference games have brought out the best in Gravelle, as he has averaged 11.5 PPG in CLC contests this season. In a three-game stretch at the end of January against Fergus Falls, Brainerd, and St. Cloud Tech, Gravelle displayed his ability to carry the scoring burden, as he averaged 18.3 PPG over the course of those three games.
While he possesses the ability to score, Gravelle considers a few other traits superior, saying that his strengths are “Ball Handling, quickness, ability to penetrate defenses.” Coach Allen adds that “Gravelle has embraced the starting PG role for the Apollo Eagles, his ball handling and court vison is elite as a sophomore and has allowed the Eagles to be competitive in all games this season.”
As a sophomore, there is still a lot to develop in his game, Coach Allen says “As Gravelle continues to mature on and off the court his ability to get to the paint is there, with continual focus Gravelle will develop more creative ways to score.” Michael agrees with his coach in terms of what he needs to work on, and says he is also focusing on his ability to “Continue to get my teammates involved early, work on new ways to score off of the dribble, continue to build consistency with my jump shot.”
The Eagles will graduate a number of players after this season, and their sophomore floor general will be looked to for more than just his on-court contributions going forward. “In the offseason, a focal point for Gravelle will be emphasizing his leadership skills, as the Apollo Eagles graduate 6 seniors, Gravelle will be leaned on to lead the Eagles over the next two years” says Allen.
Gravelle has not yet been in contact with any college programs, but hopes to garner some interest as the season winds down and he heads into his junior season.
In the meantime, the Apollo Eagles are looking to make some noise in the final two weeks of their regular season, and hope to play the spoiler and make a run come playoff time. Coach Allen sums it up by saying “As the regular season winds down we are looking forward to playing our best basketball in March. Our section will be up for grabs and we are hoping to make a deep run in March.”
If the Eagles do, in fact, make a deep run in March, Michael Gravelle will certainly be a big reason why.