Posted On: 10/16/18 10:04 AM
Some players are affective right away in high school, while others it takes a while for them to get their feet under them. I’ll freely admit that when I saw Northside rising senior Kasey Draper as a sophomore, I was a little skeptical as to why he was starting so young.
Well, that’s why I’m not a coach because last year after senior Shey Webb went down with a knee injury, Draper stepped up big time as he was the second leading scorer on a team that went undefeated through the regular season. His leadership and willingness to step up and play out of position at the 4 really helped his team last year, but with the departure of four year starting point guard Nick Price to Roanoke College, Draper is going to have to step up even more this season.
“This year I’m definitely going to have to step up and take a bigger leadership role with us losing some key seniors from last year,” Draper said. “I’ve been working on my shot a lot, last year I did a lot of my scoring around the basket, this year I’m trying to extend my game out to the perimeter and will be looking to shoot the ball more this year.”
If there’s anyone who has earned the right for a bigger role, it’s been Draper. The 6’4” senior wing has accepted lesser roles, learned from older guys, worked his tail off and done everything he can to help his teams. This summer he played with Virginia Blaze and showed improvement in all assets of his game, especially his handle and his shot, all while still showing that blue collar attitude and coachability that has made him a staple at Northside over the past two years.
Now, it’s Draper’s turn to do the teaching.
“We’re going to have to work together and make sure that we get our young guys in the right spots,” he said. “We’re going to be more inexperienced this year, so we have to make sure that we incorporate them the right way and get them in the correct defensive rotations, because a lot of our offense is started with our defense.”
Draper may not be the biggest name in the area or even on his team as far as recruitment, but he’s a coaches dream at the smaller level with his work ethic, leadership and production level He’s being actively recruited by much of the ODAC, and he’s already starting to take visits to those schools, as well as NAIA Grace College out of Indiana who has offered him. As far as what he’s looking for when the time comes, he wants somewhere that fits him well on and off the court.
“Being able to play by the end of my senior year is a big thing, but also the academic side of things are important. I want to go somewhere I can get a great degree in Business and hopefully become an entrepreneur and start my own business some day.”
With his senior year less than a month away from starting, Draper says this year they’re going to be sure to enjoy the journey much more than they have in the past few seasons.
“Our goals are to have fun and do the best we can. We’ve been so focused the past few years on winning states and that’s been our only goal, I think it’s kind of held us back, especially last year in the playoffs when we looked past Western Albemarle and lost. So we just want to take it day-by-day, have fun and enjoy my senior year, improve and step up for my team.”
Despite losing one of the winningest point guards in Roanoke history, Northside should still be the premier team in the area with Draper and JMU commit Julien Wooden returning. Expect the two of them to make some big noise moving forward throughout the season.