Roster turnover is an annual headache for most high school sports teams. However, for the defending champion Bishop Hendricken basketball team, that won’t be an issue for the 2022-23 winter …
Roster turnover is an annual headache for most high school sports teams. However, for the defending champion Bishop Hendricken basketball team, that won’t be an issue for the 2022-23 winter season.
The Hawks returned to practice and are getting ready to tip off their season this weekend. Hendricken will be led by All-State senior Eze Wali and All-Division standout Azmar Abdullah, who were both keys to the team’s run last season in a tough Division I field.
Also returning will be point guard Michael Paquette, who took over the starting role midway through last year after transferring. Although the Hawks lost former captain David Lynch, there are more than enough returners to peg Hendricken as the odds-on favorite to repeat.
It will also begin with Wali and Abdullah, who have a chance to be the state’s best one-two punch in the back court.
“I’m expecting a lot out of both of them. In my opinion, they are the two top guards in the state of Rhode Island,” said coach Jamal Gomes at Tuesday night’s practice. “They are best friends, they train all summer together, all fall together, and now this is their chance to give their best their senior year. Their athleticism, their knowledge of the game, they’re ability to score, their ability to defend is big, but most importantly it is going to come down to how they lead. I told them that the key to our success this year will be their leadership.”
“We have great chemistry and have played together for a while. It’s just going to be about finding the other pieces around us. We can be very big, we worked out together in the off-season and I feel that we can make a big impact. It’s up to us to trust each other while also pushing each other,” said Wali of the duo.
Paquette will play a major role in the lineup at the point. Although he did not see much action early last season, he eventually emerged as the starter by season’s end and will have the important role of facilitator for the team’s dynamic duo.
“Last year was a learning experience for him. He had to learn our culture and our expectations. It took a while, but his toughness, his motor, his work ethic are incredible. Our guard spot, between Eze, Azmar, and Mikey, that’s a three-headed monster that is a lot to handle,” said Gomes
Also filling out the starting lineup will be forwards Matt Brock and Devin Lynch, David’s younger brother.
As the season tips off this Saturday afternoon in a non-league matchup, Abdullah is looking forward to finishing his career strong and playing with swagger this winter.
“We always have confidence, we just have to work hard,” said Abdullah. “We train every day and we have the work ethic. I’m excited play my senior year and I want to defend the title. We just need to trust each other and work as a family. If we do that, then we should be able to hold that trophy at the end of the year.”
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