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Posted On: 08/7/18 12:36 PM
Picture this: you walk into a cavernous fieldhouse, holding six basketball courts. You embrace all the sounds—shoes squeaking, balls bouncing, fans clapping—but one noise stands out.
Odds are that’s the sound of Elijah Barlue being vocal on defense.
The 6-foot-4 forward of Osseo/Heat Nelson is as loud as they come, in a very positive way. That leadership will be big for an Osseo Orioles team that loses some top options.
“This year is going to be quite unique from any other year. We don’t have the usual known stars but I feel like we have a group of guys that can score and get to the basket,” Elijah said. We’re going to be a group that looks to push to pace and played great defense in order to cause fast break points.”
Leading scorers Emmette Page and Zach Theisen graduate. But returning are varsity pieces Cornell Richardson, Montrell Stokes, Terrance Waits and Deontae Ferguson, a group of hungry guys that coach Tim Theisen will get the best out of. Barlue will anchor the squad defensively, as he did for Heat Nelson this summer.
A close-knit group that has been together for two seasons now, Heat Nelson is known as one of the more cohesive squads in the metro. “I really enjoyed my time playing with Heat Nelson. I’d say winning the state tourney would be the best moment,” Barlue said. “Our team really clicked at the time and we were having a lot of fun as a unit. Also introducing JNelson and Bui to phrases like ‘no cap’ and ‘boaaa’ would be among that.”
August means weight room and skill development time along with football season. Barlue’s putting in the physical work, but his basketball maturation has been deeper than that. “I think I’ve gotten more comfortable with the game and don’t feel like it’s as new to me anymore,” he explained. “I feel like I was really raw the past two seasons but I’ve found a feel and understand what I’m capable of doing.
”I’ve also been able to grow as a leader and understand the importance of being vocal. Going into senior year I’m spending time in the gym working on improving my midrange and 3 point shot as those will be important in our system. Also I need to focus on improving my ball handling.”
Interest has been rolling in on the gridiron from D3 and D2 programs for Barlue (he’s a defensive menace), and he’s looking to garner some buzz for basketball as the year progresses.