WICHITA, Kan.—As a reigning state champion, Kapaun Mt. Carmel senior Jeremy Lickteig is looking forward to the upcoming season of basketball.
“We’re returning a lot of talent and we all get along,” Lickteig said. “A lot of players got playing time last year. This season is not only going to be exciting, but we’re going to have a lot of fun along the way.”
“I started playing competitive basketball in 2nd grade,” Lickteig said. “I had an opportunity to play with some of my classmates at Biddy Basketball. Prior to that it was just recreational.”
What Lickteig enjoys most about basketball is not only the individual effort it requires from each man on the court, but also the teamwork involved.
“Basketball measures not only a person's athletic ability, but also his heart and work ethic,” Lickteig said. “It is a complete test but cannot be done alone; it takes a team to be great.”
Good work ethic and a player’s strength are important, but the ability to make good decisions during the game is what Lickteig believes is his biggest strength.
“I think that my hard work and my 'basketball IQ' set me apart from others. When one works hard and plays smart, it makes a difference.”
Having a good work ethic doesn’t stop at the end of each season. Working hard to stay in shape is what Lickteig views as one of the biggest aspects of the game.
“I lift weights and condition with my teammates,” Lickteig said. “I also played on a summer team and worked with them. I broke my fibula in my right leg late this July, so I had to actually use a lot of rest as well as some therapy to recover from that. Plyometrics, agility training and weights are a big part of the sport even though it doesn't involve a basketball.”
After winning the 5A state championship last year, the Kapaun boys’ basketball team has a lot to live up to. Lickteig doesn’t see this as extra pressure, he accepts the challenge.
“Kapaun will definitely have a target on its back in basketball,” Lickteig said. “I'm sure that we will be expected to do well, but I have no problem with that. We expect to do well.”
The team will have to work hard to have another successful season. Lickteig believes that to accomplish this will take a lot of teamwork and communication.
“To be successful this year, the team will have to have great chemistry and companionship,” Lickteig said. “A lot of seniors are returning, and they will be expected to take on leadership roles. Staying focused and putting in the hard work will help us accomplish what we want to.”
Despite high expectations, Lickteig believes his team can be successful once again, but it will not be easy. He has set high goals for himself and his team, and will work hard to accomplish them.
“We would love to win the City League title as well as return to Topeka to win another state championship,” Lickteig said. “We have to play smart and as a team. We know that we have the drive and some talent so we have to put it all together because the road to championships will not be an easy one.”