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Published: February 21, 2007 12:07 am    print this story   email this story   comment on this story  

BOYS BASKETBALL: Feathers turns GI into a contender

By Nate Beutel/
Greater Niagara Newspapers

His last name might portray something different, but in actuality 6-foot-5 sophomore Greg Feathers has turned the Grand Island Vikings into a heavyweight contender in the Niagara Frontier League and Class A-1.

With a roster full of guards, it’s easy to see why Feathers has become such an integral part of the Vikings squad, which finished .500 overall, including a pair of wins over AA Lockport.

But to think that Feathers played less than one year on the junior varsity and was pushed into the heat of varsity competition is even more impressive.

“He’s probably our most improved player from last year,” GI coach Chris Simpson said. “He played some minutes here and there last year after we called him up, but he really struggled especially with the man-to-man defense. He didn’t like sitting, though, so he got better defensively and that’s why he’s playing so well now.”

Feathers, who averages almost 11 points per game on 60 percent shooting, said a lot of his development has to do with his increased work in the summer with his AAU team, which is coached by former NT and current Vikings’ JV coach Greg Ross.

“We’d practice a few times a week and go to five or six tournaments over the summer, so it was good experience and helped me get used to playing good competition,” he said.

Yet even with all his hard work in the offseason and the Vikings off to a hot start to begin the year, Feathers felt he wasn’t playing to his full potential.

“I was still a little inexperienced and I didn’t have a lot of games under my belt, so I think I was still getting used to the game,” he said.

Since then, Feathers — for lack of a better term — has taken off. According to Simpson, his emergence helped the entire team, even if the team’s play was sporadic.

“By him just going inside and battling, it opens things up for the guards because if one guy has to go down and help, that leaves the guards open on the perimeter,” the coach said.

Feathers also provides a great addition on the defensive end of the floor as he averages almost three blocks a contest. The Vikings as a team have routinely held opponents to under 60 points a game this season.

“Defensively, I’m a pretty good post defender and I’m pretty good at blocking shots,” Feathers said.

That defense will certainly be needed at 7 p.m. today when Feathers and the Vikings host Hutch Tech in a Section VI Class A-1 pre-quarterfinals. The Engineers — like most Yale Cup teams — will be looking to push the ball, so Feathers knows his team will have to limit the turnovers and try to play their slow-down style.

“We need to get our chemistry back together to where it was during our winning streak,” he said. “It’s been a combination of turnovers and bad shooting in our losses, so we have to do better with both of them to be successful.”