By JP Widner/SWT Sports Writer
Pulaski- The Pulaski Middle School Boy’s Basketball Team gathered together one last time to celebrate the 2012-2013 season. An awards ceremony with pizza was held in the PMS cafeteria for the players, staff, cheerleaders and their families. Coach Akers spoke about meaning of EPIC and expressed appreciation to players for doing well and correcting issues that compromised EPIC standards. Certificates of participation were awarded to each member of the team before the final award was revealed.
Head Coach Anthony Akers talked about the “Jeff King-Excellence in Attitude and Hard Work” Award, its second year in exsistence. As many of the Pulaski community know, Jeff King was a student at Pulaski Middle School in the mid 1990’s. He played multiple sports through high school at PCHS and continued to play football and basketball at Virginia Tech. King was drafted in the NFL by the Carolina Panthers. The 6’3” 260 lb King has had a very successful NFL career and currently plays for the Arizona Cardinals. Though King plays football, his favorite sport is basketball. It was through his excellent attitude and hard work that is was and is still able to accomplish his goals. Aside from being an excellent athlete, Jeff is an excellent person and role model.
According to Coach Akers, the Jeff King Award was to be a “player nominated” award with the following criteria: The player must 1.) maintain above a C average or excellent grades in school, 2.) maintain an excellent attitude and behavior in school, showing respect for authority, school staff, friends, classmates, and coaches…on and off the court, 3.) attend all practices, respecting the team through our motto S.O.A.R – Success through Organization, Attitude, and Respect, 4.) support teammates during practices and games, 5.) show respect for officials and the opposing team during and after games, 6.) work hard in practices by doing drills properly and running hard to get in great shape and 7.) set a positive example for Pulaski Middle School and for others to follow.
Bryant Grubb an eighth grader at Pulaski Middle School, was awarded the Jeff King Award by his basketball peers. Grubb played in all twenty games for the Orioles. He scored a total of 233 points during the season including a game high 24 in the final game of the season vs rival Dublin Middle. Bryant averaged 11.6 points per game to lead the Orioles as they finished with a 13 win season. Grubb also made 36 of 57 free throws for 63%.
“We had a roster was comprised of 16 players from 6th to 8th grade,” said Coach Akers. “Our seven 8th graders each contributed in some way throughout the season. We had a handful of games that we were able to provide almost our entire roster with quality minutes. We had numerous games that we did not have the same opportunity. As a coach, it is tough to decide during many of those games what players would be most effective against a particular opponent. Several of our players specialized in certain skills that made us a well rounded team.”
“Regarding our 13 and 7 record,” Akers continued. “We had 3 losses on the road that were decided by midway through the second half. Our other four losses were games we had hoped to avenge on our home court. We prepared for these games very well over our Christmas break and each contest was decided in the last one or two minutes of the game. At least one of our key players did not play over the course of three of those losses. I was so glad to see how our kids responded well to adjustments we made on these games and throughout the season. We had two games canceled on our 22 game schedule. Having this many games in a tight two month time span does not allow for a lot of high quality instruction in between contests. But, this has always been the case with middle school basketball and as a coach, you just hope you have taught the sound fundamentals and techniques that prepares these kids to better basketball players and be ready for more intense play at the high school level. Assistant coach Dave Hart really enjoys being around the kids and is very methodical in his instruction about how to play the game he loves. It is very rewarding to build relationships with these young men while having fun playing the game of basketball. Win or lose, we promote an atmosphere of hard work and excitement as I feel the middle school years are some of the most enjoyable and fun times in one’s life. We emphasized the PMS acronym “EPIC” which stands for Excellence, Perseverance, Integrity, and Caring. Coach Hart and I greatly appreciate all the school staff, parents, and fan support that we received during our season. We would like to thank JP Wider and the Southwest Times for the great articles about our games. Thanks to Dave Gravely for the pictures as well!”