With so many students who want to play basketball at HHS, and only a certain amount of space on each school team, there are many kids who want to participate in a organized basketball league.
Most students tryout for the Southwest league. Students from Hopkins, Minnetonka, Wayzata and Edina participate in the league for a chill experience they can share with their friends.
The Southwest league is a recreational basketball league for high school boys (grades 9-12). It’s a less competitive league for non-varsity players who still want to play basketball. There are tryouts for team placement, but no one ever gets cut.
Will Rauser, sophomore, has been playing in Southwest for the past few years, and he encourages other students to join.
“Southwest is not as big of a commitment as a school team where practices are almost everyday. I like southwest because it’s very low key, but you can still play with really good players and still have time for other sports and activities,” Rauser said.
There are practices take place every Saturday and start in late December in the NJH structure. Games are mostly on Sundays with a few friday night “rivalry” games taking place in the Lindbergh Center, and the season concludes with a tournament in the second weekend in March.
Will appreciates how Southwest encourages the actual sport of basketball, rather than the competition that revolves around it. Equal play time and player-chosen teams emphasize the importance of the player and not the team.
“The best part of Southwest is playing basketball with your friends where you have equal playing time, and you get to choose your team,” Rauser said. “The experience is so chill, that last year, one of my teammates brought a Playstation controller and pretended to control us like a game of 2K.”
Students at HHS seem to be unaware of the Southwest league, although there have been students that have been playing for years.
Dean Andraschko, senior, has played Southwest for three years straight. His priorities lie in the competitive nature in basketball rather than the commitment that goes with it.
There are always cases of students who want to play a sport, but can’t because they aren’t quite at the skill level of those who specialize in it. However, this doesn’t prevent Andraschko from enjoying the competition.
“Southwest is less competitive than school ball with less organized practices and games, but the competitiveness of the players really doesn’t vary between the two,” Andraschko said.
Southwest, to Andraschko, is really an opportunity to share an experience with faces that are both old and new, with people who all come from different backgrounds. All that running is also a good way to stay in shape during a time where your streets are covered in a blanket of ice.
“It’s important for kids to get involved in sports outside of school because staying in shape and meeting new people beats cabin fever any day,” Andraschko said. “Southwest does an excellent job at challenging yourself into competing for that championship win.”