The very late Freud Five and basketball honor roll
Yes, it's more than five
Yeah, this took a while, but it’s worth the wait.
Sorry, folks, but, like most of the world, we weren’t expecting the novel coronavirus to get in the way of our annual exercise of playing fantasy basketball with the best of Eagle County hoops.
For those not familiar with this, we take Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley, Vail Christian, and Vail Mountain School basketball and mash them all together for an all-star team. It’s fun and, with apologies to math teachers across Eagle County, I can’t count.
That’s a way of saying there is no way of keeping this dream team to just five players. The Freud Five is always a whole lot more than five.
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The 2020 edition is a lot like our local teams — very guard-oriented. This hypothetical squad is going to be chucking up 3s like they’re going out of style. We’re going to be bringing out opposing defenses to midcourt with this team, so don’t forget to attack the rim once in a while, fellas.
Bartender, give us a shot of Jamo.
Yes, that was a completely inappropriate line for a high school article, written by a recovering alcoholic, but I’ve been thinking about it all year between football and basketball. Everyone calls Vail Christian’s Jamison Lee Jamo as it is, so maybe not.
Either way No. 12 was a stud in whatever sport he played. The Saints quarterback in the fall, Lee ran the show that was the Vail Christian’s high-wire act with the appropriate skill and panache.
Lee dropped dimes but could also stop everything and drain the 3. Lee also led the league in fashion with his light-purple LeBrons, which were so popular that all of West Grand wore them, too.
And for those Huskies fanatics who think the Freud Five should have another one-guard, we play people out of position on this team.
Welcome to the hot-dog portion of the team, and this is meant in the best way possible. Like strikers in soccer, 3-point shooters need a certain amount of arrogance. You may miss a few attempts early in a game, but you’re eventually going to heat up and drive a dagger through the opposing team’s heart when it counts.
The Freud Five is not short of hot-dogging arrogance with Eagle Valley’s Keegan Garvey and Vail Christian’s Alec Moritz.
First of all, regarding young master Keegan, how in the wide, wide world of sports are you a senior? Stop it immediately. I knew your folks before you were born and know you’re going off to college? (Ahem, Abby Kuhns, as well.)
OK, back to basketball, Garvey wore No. 3 and was 39 percent from beyond the arc this year, and some of those were from the volleyball restraining line.
One of the reasons we have two shooting guards is that both Garvey and Moritz could create offense by drawing double-teams and finding the open man.
Moritz had a tough act to follow in his older brother, Sebastian, Class of 2018, and Alec arguably had a better senior season. The two will probably be able to debate this and other points in a brotherly fashion during the football weekend of Nov. 14 when Wisconsin (Alec’s new school) is at Purdue (where Sebastian is a sophomore).
That should be a fun time.
The most heartbreaking moment of the season was when Battle Mountain’s Owen Ruotolo picked up two technicals during the regular-season finale at Rifle and had to sit during the Huskies playoff loss to Discovery Canyon.
It shouldn’t have occurred the way it did, but high school sports, in addition to being a ton of fun, are another vehicle of education and the lesson, in this case, was “stuff” happens.
While the technical fouls made him ineligible to make all-league, Ruotolo is definitely Freud Five material. Ironically, that Discovery Canyon game showed that, while another Huskies player got a lot of ink, Ruotolo was likely the glue of the team.
Yeah, Ruotolo’s a point guard, but heck, he doesn’t care what position he plays. He’s on the floor and that’s what counts.
This is somewhat of an oxymoron when it came to Eagle County basketball in 2019-20. Our four teams only had one true post. Everyone who is returning needs to take the offseason to grow and fill out.
Cole Pattison, 6-foot-2 and all 160 pounds of him, is our guy. Congratulations and power up, kid.
In true Vail Mountain School fashion, Pattison skied in the state-championship and played in the district tournament during the same week.
So in one week, the VMS junior finished second in the state giant slalom and dropped 31 points on Meeker. In my 22-plus years here, we’ve had some split-season athletes — golf and boys soccer and the combo of soccer or lax and track — but not at Pattison’s level in one week.
Oh, by the way, Pattison’s a sophomore.
Sixty-six points in two games against the archrival. Some games are more equal than others, and Battle Mountain’s Liam McKenny left his mark by helping the Huskies sweep Eagle Valley this winter.
I can’t remember one player dominating the rivalry like that — 34 and 32 points? The Devils are so happy to see him graduate.
More importantly, McKenny grew up this season. Being as big as he was, McKenny would get hacked with no call or got whistled and he would take himself out of games mentally. As the year progressed, he got mentally tougher, and that made him a better player.
Again, sports are fun, but they’re also another venue for learning. McKenny learned well.
Yes, the next guy is going to be No. 7 on the Freud Five. We already gave you the math disclaimer. My eponymous team ain’t going anywhere without Vail Christian’s Hayden Sticksel.
Last season, we thought the Saints’ E.J. Koller was fast, lightning in a bottle. Koller definitely had jets. But then there’s Sticksel. Wowsa. The senior’s first task was guarding the opponent’s best, and he did that well. Sticksel also could shoot and attack the rim with gusto.
There’s always a senior who I want to see play another year. Sticksel is that guy.
Battle Mountain’s Harrison Rubis’ stat line in both soccer and basketball is nothing really special, but the kid is special. Regardless of the sport, he’s allergic to the ball going into the net.
Like Sticksel at Vail Christian, Rubis was the “cover” guy. While offense generates the headlines, defense wins games. The Battle Mountain soccer and basketball teams don’t make the postseason without Rubis.
You win a district title at the Vail Mountain School, you coach the Freud Five. Kudos to Caleb Florence.
VMS is just not a basketball school … yet. It’s just not in the culture in East Vail. At the Vail MOUNTAIN School, winter sports are Alpine, Nordic, snowboarding, freeskiing and telemarking. Do we notice a theme?
When you have pretty much all your students on snow, a school like VMS doesn’t have a large enough student boy to field a basketball team as well. It’s math, people.
Not only that, but VMS has a two-week stop in its season for Intraterm. Academics go first always but having two weeks without basketball going into the postseason isn’t ideal.
That said, VMS returned to the court and beat Paonia, Vail Christian and Meeker to put up a banner in the gym.
Too early Freud Five for 2021
• Jesse Gonzales, Vail Christian … The sophomore has game.
• Branden Vigil, Bryan Martinez and Carlos Sanchez, Eagle Valley … That’s sophomore, sophomore and junior. You heard it here first — watch out for Eagle Valley.
• All of Vail Mountain School … The Gore Rangers graduate only three seniors this spring.
• Connor Downey, Vail Christian, Daniel Redinger, Battle Mountain … The Saints and Huskies are going to be young next year. You two need to grow up quickly.
And, yes, you’re correct, that was more than five.
Keegan Garvey, Eagle Valley
Liam McKenny, Battle Mountain
Harrison Rubis, Battle Mountain
Jack Sullivan, Battle Mountain
Gabby Caballero, Battle Mountain
Kaitlin Medina, Eagle Valley
Cody Eaton, Eagle Valley
Jamison Lee, Vail Christian
Alec Moritz, Vail Christian
Hayden Sticksel, Vail Christian
Cole Pattison, Vail Mountain
Devin Yarde, Vail Mountain
Becker Dienst, Vail Mountain
Connor Downey, Vail Christian
Kaleb Williams, Vail Christian
Grace McCurdy, Vail Christian
Zoey Barela, Vail Christian
Abby Kuhns, Vail Christian
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After a sudden stop in March and extended isolation, people may be ready to travel or play. But don’t expect a full-throttle return this summer.