By Jack Zirbel ‘21
Waddling outside onto the back porch of a quaint Texas home, four year old Michael Wolf’s love for the game of basketball sprouted from there. He would first learn to play hoops on his four foot Little Tikes hoop his parents got him.
His dad, a former college basketball player, loved the game and wanted to pass down his love for the game onto his son. From there, Michael experimented with plenty of sports as any kid does. But every year as those winter months rolled around and it was basketball season Michael was excited to play. From that point Michael knew basketball was the game he wanted to play for years to come.
Michael played all throughout elementary school and middle school. After a tough fifth grade season he felt defeated and wasn’t sure how his next season would turn out. He worked hard and was ready for middle school hoops the next year, leading his team to a championship, which his school hadn’t done in years.
Michael’s favorite basketball moment comes his eighth grade year where he catches fire during the Gold Crown silver bracket semi final where he puts up 33 points and 27 in one quarter with 9 three’s. The very next day in the final he puts up another 30 point performance going 15/15 on free throws.
Now as Michael steps into a new stage of his basketball career, he fills a new role, as he becomes the young gun on a team dominated by seniors. Michael is only one of two sophomores on this varsity squad.
Michael has had many different roles on this team. His playing time early in the year made him a mere practice player. As the season went on, Michael continued to work hard and saw more opportunities on the court. His role in the beginning of the year he only played in practices and his main role was to play to help improve the older guys on the team. He played lockdown defense to improve their offensive ability and was just a role player.
“But I feel over the next couple years my role will change tremendously from being one of the secondary guys on the court just looking for shots to one of the main guys on the court handling the ball, making plays, and being one of the guys that people need to rely on like Payton was.“ Michael says.
As the season closes, Michael looks back to see how the team can improve. Max Preps stat’s say the team had six out of eight losses decided by four points or less and four overtime losses. One must think, what is it gonna be for the team to make sure the pressure isn’t on them late in the game and they can just blow teams out of the water early.
“The games that didn’t go our way, there was a possession or two where they made a mental mistake where they bobbled or made a bad pass or the person who caught it traveled or something. Little mistakes,” he says.
Micheal’s game also comes from the inspiration of Jimmy Butler’s truly incredible story and the play style of Steph Curry and Chris Paul. Having both motivational and play style role models can both improve his game mentally and physically.
Michael has come a long way from his early years as a basketball player but still has much to improve on as his journey to become the best player he can be continues.