N I A G A R A G A Z E T T E niagara-gazette.com
BOYS BASKETBALL: GI can definitely bank on KolbyBy Nate Beutel
GRAND ISLAND — Kolby Banker can’t remember the last
time he wasn’t coached. After all he’s been in the gym with his mom —
veteran Grand Island girls basketball coach Jenepher Banker — since the age of
“I used to look up to my mom’s teams,” Kolby said. “I think those times, listening to my mom and learning from some of the girls, really contributed to some of my success. My mom still coaches me, too.”
Now a junior at GI, Banker has taken those lessons to the court as the starting point guard for the 10-1 Vikings.
“He’s like a little coach on the floor for us,” GI coach Greg Ross said of Banker. “He calls out a lot of the offenses and gets guys where they are supposed to be. He’s pretty heady out there.”
Banker said when Ross handed him the reins near the end of last season it took some time for him to get used to the role, but during the summer his duties became second nature.
“I felt like I started clicking with my teammates during the offseason,” Banker said. “We really developed some chemistry and I felt a lot more comfortable leading the team.”
“He made some big improvements during our Buffalo summer league and AAU tournaments,” Ross added. “We faced some good teams that put a lot of pressure on Kolby and I think that helped him begin to develop some poise and confidence.”
Banker said he focused on his ballhandling against pressure in the summer and is know determined to diversify his offensive skill set.
“I know all the other guys are scorers on our team, and I’m OK with that, but I’ve been taking it to the hoop more and getting up a few more shots in practice, so I can be a threat, too,” he said.
Adding a little more offense to his game might make those heated 1-on-1 games with little sister, Kallie, even more of a mismatch.
“Sometimes those games are close, but a lot of times I’ll post her up and then it’s over,” Banker said with a chuckle.
For now, though, the sibling rivalry is on the backburner as both brother and sister are hoping to lead their team to a lengthy postseason run. Kolby is especially excited for the playoffs since GI was upset in the opening round by Starpoint last winter.
“I think we’re better suited for the playoffs this year,” he said. “We’re not going to slow down one bit as we get closer.”
Contact reporter Nate Beutel at 282-2311, ext. 2262.
• SCHOOL: Grand Island
• SPORT: Boys Basketball
• GRADE: Junior
• POSITION: Point Guard
• STORY: Lessons from mom have translated to success on the floor years later
• COACH’S QUOTE: “He’s like a little coach on the floor for us.”
— Greg Ross