Prep boys basketball: East eager for more this season
They're a band of brothers hanging out in the weight room at East High.
They're loose, laughing at one another and poking fun at each other. Hanging over a bench press to the side is their captain, 6-foot-3 shooter Parker Van Dyke, the University of Utah commit who knows in the next moments things are going to get very serious.
"Our practices are very competitive," Van Dyke said. "We're such a deep team that everybody gives it their all during the practice."
The reigning Class 4A MVP is the keystone in a tough East basketball team that is looking for redemption after last year's state quarterfinals loss. Even though Van Dyke knows he'll be a Ute next year, he is focused on moving the Leopards deeper into this year's state tournament.
"The loss [to Olympus] was disappointing and we've been using it as motivation for the year," Van Dyke said. "This has been the hardest I have ever worked to be ready for a season."
East coach Skip Lowe said Van Dyke's leadership on the court comes from the other players wanting to follow his example.
"He has so much experience that he brings to the floor," Lowe said. "His ability to score and his leadership is what makes him a special player."
Van Dyke knows when to take over a game and when to play a supporting role. The Leopards started the season 3-1, with Van Dyke leading the team with 107 points. Averaging 26 points and seven rebounds makes the captain a threat at both ends of the court.
"I am always trying to be a good example to the other guys always trying to stay on task," he said. "I think if we keep this up, we have a good chance of winning region."
He is excited about hosting West on Friday, in a century-old rivalry that brings out the best play in both schools.
"We play each game one at a time, but people are coming out big for this one," Van Dyke said. "It's a tradition."
Meet Parker Van Dyke
Van Dyke is committed to the University of Utah. He is weighing his options of doing his LDS mission after one year with the Utes.
He likes the fact East's basketball team has a lot of football players on it. They bring toughness and a winning tradition the Leopards basketball team thrives on.
The 6-foot-3 shooting guard was last year's Class 4A MVP.