Posted On: 09/20/19 5:00 AM

If South Lakes hopes to replicate its success from last season, Hassen Kurtu will be one of the players expected to step up. Based on what we’ve seen during the preseason, the senior forward has elevated his game. Kurtu looks prepared to embrace his new role and prove the nay-sayers wrong.  

“Everyone is doubting South Lakes because Cameron Savage is gone. We had a coaching change, but they don’t know what we’ve been working for all summer,” Kurtu told Prep Hoops. “I think we’ll be the best team in the region. We’ve got things to prove, a chip on our shoulder, and we’re ready.”

At 6-foot-6, Kurtu is a major impact player on the defensive end. He’s a relentless rebounder who can block and alter shots well. One of Kurtu’s best attributes is how well he moves laterally. He has no problem hedging screens or switching out onto guards and keeping his man in front.

“Freshman year, sophomore year I was actually a 5 so I was better at guarding bigs,” he stated. “So I can do that. In recent years I’ve had to guard wings. Over the summer, my main priority was to get better defensively on the wing. Just stay in front of people and be long.”

One of the things Kurtu does that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet is lead by example. It might not always be evident, but he prides himself on being a communicator as well.

“I say I’m a leader. Sort of a quiet leader. When my teammates feel down, I bring them up. I talk a lot on the court.”

As far as the upcoming season is concerned, Kurtu is setting the bar high. He is aiming for a First-Team All-District selection and All-Region accolades. For the team, Kurtu said hopes to leave senior year with a ring, so he has his sights set on winning districts first, then regionals, and finally states.