Rising Star: Wichita Collegiate boys basketball led by star freshman trio
WICHITA, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - Mitch Fiegel has been the leader of the Collegiate boys basketball team for more than three decades. In that time, the Spartans have collected six state championships and seeing plenty of talent enter and exit the gym.
But he’s never seen anything like what he is during the perfect start to this season. On a team that features just one senior and two juniors, it’s the freshman trio of Jaden Parker, AJ Batiste and Sebastian Hines-Turner that are paving the way.
“Three ingredients have to be present for special to emerge,” Fiegel said. “Number one, you’ve gotta love the game. Two, you’ve gotta have some talent. But most importantly, you’ve gotta be willing to work.
“You’re trying to get the pieces of the puzzle to come together. It just seems like the pieces slipped in pretty well with this group.”
All three bring something different to the team. Batiste sees himself as the shooter and driver. Parker loves to get downhill, slash and facilitate if he’s not finishing at the rim. And for the last few weeks, Hines-Turner has donned the special jersey passed around at practice that reads ‘Mr. Burn’ on the front for the player who puts his body on the line diving after loose balls the most.
“Keep our team in check, get on the floor, and play as hard as I can,” he said.
The trio played for Team Griffin’s AAU squad before making the move to Trae Young’s team last year.
“We’ve traveled all around the world, so we know. We’ve built our chemistry and bond together,” Parker said.
“As we came together, you know, as a team since the first day of practice, it’s been beautiful,” Hines-Turner said.
Fiegel added, “We’re doing some things on film that veteran teams do.”
All three freshmen see their team as capable of winning a state championship, despite their youth and lack of postseason experience.
Fiegel says his teams are always embedded in the daily process, but they are making strides that need to be made.
“Well you know what; time will tell. ... I told them the other day, we’re inching in that direction.”
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