West Bloomfield High senior Donavan Moore looks to drive by a Detroit Cass Tech defender in a game Dec. 4. Moore is signed with the University of Toledo.

West Bloomfield High senior Donavan Moore looks to drive by a Detroit Cass Tech defender in a game Dec. 4. Moore is signed with the University of Toledo.

Photo by Donna Agusti


West Bloomfield boys basketball ready to roll

By: Zachary Manning | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published December 6, 2018

 Junior Shamar Mathews looks for an opening in the defense. At press time, the Lakers were 1-1 overall.

Junior Shamar Mathews looks for an opening in the defense. At press time, the Lakers were 1-1 overall.

Photo by Donna Agusti

WEST BLOOMFIELD — The West Bloomfield High boys basketball team is out to prove that they belong.

West Bloomfield coach Jeremy Denha believes his team has what it takes to compete for a league title and make a run come playoff time.

At press time, the Lakers were 1-1 overall. Last season, they finished at 11-10 overall and 6-6 in the Oakland Activities Association Red Division.

“I think, as a collective unit, one of our strengths is our kids really like each other. To go along with being really good athletes and having a lot of really good basketball players, there’s a certain camaraderie with this group,” Denha said. “These kids like each other, they get after each other, they compete with each other, they’re rooting for one another, and that’s so invaluable to have with a group of high school kids.”

As the season starts to heat up, Denha will look to his three senior captains to lead the team. Denha said Rob Johnson and University of Toledo signee Donavan Moore will be expected to contribute the most, while Ethan Kleimola is the ultimate glue guy who can give the team valuable minutes wherever he is needed.

Some younger guys who Denha expects to step up and contribute this year are juniors Chase Glover-Rodgers and Shamar Mathews. He wants them to prove that they are ready for extra playing time and can handle the spotlight.

“All of those guys that have been with me, we ask them to take leadership roles, especially with all these new faces that we have on our roster. When it comes to learning me and learning how I like things in practice, having those guys on the floor day in and day out really helps with that process,” Denha said.

Denha loves being in the OAA Red because it ensures his group is being tested, which gets them ready for the state playoffs. He also scheduled some strong nonconference opponents, including River Rouge High, which made it to the Class B state semifinals last season.

If the Lakers are able to win the league and make a deep run, Denha said that would be special. He enjoys seeing the kids react to winning and being part of a championship-level team.

“I told the guys after our first game, ‘A run for us could be so very special because of the guys we have in this locker room.’ I just think that they would embrace it and this group would have so much fun with a long, long run,” he said.

Catch the Lakers on the court at 7 p.m. Dec. 14 at home against Warren De La Salle.