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The Paw Print

The Paw Print

Athlete of the Issue: Justin Wang

Oliver Marks

In basketball, a sport filled with giants who dominate the court with their stature, you may not expect someone who barely scrapes 5’10” to be the best player on the team; however, senior Justin Wang is the biggest presence on the Panther squad.

Coming off a commanding 63-47 league win versus Chadwick’s Dolphins on Friday, Jan. 19, the Poly boys basketball team put their 14th notch in the win column, signficantly outweighing their scant five losses this year. With an impressive 74% win rate, the Panthers have turned their quality of play up a gear since last season, where they finished with a 61% win rate.

Wang’s quality of play has been a driving force in the team’s success. For the Panthers, Wang fills the crucial role of point guard. A floor general, Wang expertly commands the offense while also playing lock-down defense.

Sophomore Diego Scholze said, “His strengths as a player are his speed and shiftiness, a mix that is deadly when combined. And when you throw in his elite ball handling and shot, it’s pretty much game over as soon as he steps onto the court.”

Despite having all the tools to take the game into his own hands, Wang selflessly involves his teammates with his pass-first mentality. His team focus, however, is not just displayed through his style of play.

“As a senior varsity captain, I know many of the players on our team look up to him, as well as the players on JV and Frosh,” said Scholze. Both on and off the court, Wang reflects what it means to be a Poly student-athlete.

Although Wang spends consistent time on the court, his recent ascent to the top has been nothing short of rocky. Wang had the misfortune of starting the season with a concerning ankle injury, a sprain that took him out of commission for the first chunk of the season.

Instead of letting this injury deter him, Wang treated it as just another obstacle to overcome, continuing to support his teammates while he was sidelined and taking the time to work on the fundamentals so that when he returned, he didn’t simply transition from the bench to the basketball court. Instead, he rebounded better, stronger and shiftier than before. Upon recovery, he has made up for his lost time and then some, including an especially impressive 26-point performance against Bishop Diego.

Nothing is certain in the seven games remaining in Poly’s regular season. Nothing except the fact that if Justin Wang stays healthy and keeps playing as he is right now, his supersized contribution to the team will help guide the Panthers toward playoff basketball.

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Oliver Marks
Oliver Marks, Sports Section Editor
Grade: 11 Years on Staff: 3 Fun Fact: I love to cook! Favorite Movie: The Banshees of Inisherind
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