Eastpointe High’s Jesse Judkins drives by a Roseville High defender in a game earlier this season. At press time, the Shamrocks were 10-5 overall and 6-4 in the MAC Silver Division.

Eastpointe High’s Jesse Judkins drives by a Roseville High defender in a game earlier this season. At press time, the Shamrocks were 10-5 overall and 6-4 in the MAC Silver Division.

Photo by Sarah Purlee


Eastpointe High boys hoops ready to finish strong

By: Zachary Manning | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published February 11, 2019

EASTPOINTE — If you asked Eastpointe High boys basketball coach Nate Minnoy how his team was doing two weeks ago, he would’ve said it was underachieving.

That is no longer the case, as at press time, the Shamrocks were 10-5 overall and 6-4 in the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division. Those 10 wins are more than the previous three seasons combined, and the most since 2010-11.

However, the Shamrocks are not only winning on the basketball court. Minnoy credits his team for also taking care of business in the classroom and in the community.

“I look at the overall picture. We have zero kids ineligible; we have zero kids with F’s; we have zero write-ups since the season has started,” Minnoy said. “Those are the things we look at, and I count those as wins. These young men are, first off, doing what they’re supposed to do outside the basketball court, and that’s why things are going well for us on it.”

Early in the season, Minnoy and the rest of the coaching staff were teaching the team how to win games, and how to play with toughness and effort. Now, those things are coming naturally, and the staff can focus on strategy and execution.

Minnoy credits the turnaround to his players buying into a new culture and understanding what the staff is preaching. He is proud to coach a team that loves the game of basketball like his group does.

Throughout the season, the Shamrocks have gotten solid production from a variety of players. Minnoy said that Jesse Judkins, Davion Holloway, Davon Yelder, Davion Watkins and Stephon Jackson have played significant roles down the stretch of the season.

Judkins and Holloway are two of the top scorers on the team; Yelder is a captain with great athleticism; Watkins has multiple 20-rebound games; and Jackson is a captain who does the little things necessary to win.

“I feel like I don’t have to score anymore. I can facilitate the ball, get rebounds, do other things just to win for my team,” Judkins said.

As the season continues to wind down and districts start to creep up, Minnoy is aware of potential opponents his team may see. The Shamrocks will open up district play with Grosse Pointe South Feb. 27 at Grosse Pointe North. North, Hamtramck High and Detroit East English Village Prep are on the other side of the bracket.

Minnoy is hoping his team is entering district play with a strong regular-season finish. One area Eastpointe would like to correct is its play late in games. In each of their five losses, the Shamrocks have had a lead but couldn’t close out the game.

To fix that problem, Judkins believes the team needs to take better care of the ball and knock down free throws. For Minnoy, when his team has a lead, he wants his group to keep its foot on the gas and not let up.

When Eastpointe is playing its best basketball, Minnoy believes his team looks like a state contender. He knows that might sound crazy to some people, but he’s confident in his team’s ability to play with anyone in the state.

“I tell them, ‘If you do the right things in the classroom on a daily basis, as hard as that is, good things will happen for you here on the basketball court.’ Our guys are striving every day to continue to do the right things, so it doesn’t surprise me that we’re 10-5, that we’ve won four out of our last five games,” Minnoy said. “It makes me more proud that these guys have learned to handle that success and that we still haven’t hit our spot where I can say, ‘We’re playing our best basketball,’ and hopefully we find that in the next five or six games.”