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Posted On: 05/24/18 4:08 PM
Paducah Tilghman graduated one of the top players in the First Region when JJ Reed walked out the doors and headed for a postgraduate year at Beckley Prep. There is a sizable void to be filled in his absence. Coach Rod Thomas will have to replace 18 points and 6 rebounds per game with Reed’s loss and Mike Laster may be the man to help fill that void for the Blue Tornado. Laster is a kid who can play any position on the floor and will move out to the wing more as a Junior. Coach Thomas told me “Mike is a physical specimen who has the capability to do a lot of things on the court to help a team.”
With the graduation of Reed, Laster looks to move to the wing after sitting primarily in the post over the last two seasons. According to Coach Thomas, “We’ve used Mike inside with our team throughout his Freshmen and Sophomore seasons but we will be asking him to play on the perimeter more, which he’s well capable of doing.” Mike says his biggest strength is attacking the basket even though he needs to improve his ball handling to play the wing full time. Laster is splitting his AAU season between playing with 3 different AAU programs. He’s spent time playing for KY Blue Thunder, Nashville Future Stars and Team TAE (Adidas Silver Gauntlet member). He says that AAU season is teaching him how to better control the game and change the pace and tempo of the game.
Coach Thomas has high hopes for Mike in his Junior season and offered high praise for his Junior forward,”Mike uses his body extremely well to rebound and score and he’s a deceptively good ball handler and passer.” Despite playing a lot of AAU this season, Mike hasn’t drawn the eyes of college coaches yet. He lists that as one of his goals for the upcoming season, “My goals for next season are to get college looks but also help me team to win every game in any way possible.” As a sophomore, Mike averaged 8.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. If he can double those averages (which I think he is capable of) then he can absorb the impact of losing JJ Reed and make his own name in the first region as a top player in Western Kentucky.