True homegrown talent has the Puyallup High boys basketball program hopeful that the Vikings can make a splash in the 4A SPSL this season and beyond.
When you look at Puyallup’s roster, players’ heights, weights or wing spans don’t overwhelm.
There’s nothing that can truly define what Puyallup (3-2, 2-2) has going for it — except one simple explanation.
“I think we’re a lot closer this year,” Jacob Holcomb said. “I’ve known most of these guys all my life, and most of have been playing together for six years, since second grade. That’s built chemistry with this team.”
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That’s the chemistry vibe coming from Puyallup as every single player on the varsity roster has come through coach Scott Campbell’s feeder program, the Vikings Hoops Camp.
With many of the players on the team having been together as early as second grade, and with the roster filling in and playing together by sixth grade, there is just too much camaraderie on this team not to get through the 4A SPSL.
We all just have chemistry and team unity. We just get each other and it’s all love.
“This a young team, but they can get after it. They are fast and love to play defense,” Campbell said.
Puyallup enters the break in sixth place in the 4A SPSL after some tough losses to first-place Emerald Ridge (56-43 on Dec. 6) and third-place Bellarmine (65-61 on Dec. 13).
Even after losing to both league opponents, the close losses have revealed that this team won’t break under the toughest of pressure.
“What we had last year with the seniors that we had, they were expected to compete for first or second in the league,” Campbell said. “(This year’s team is) not going to shoot like what we people might be used to seeing from Puyallup, but they get after it and don’t let up throughout the game. In fact, they might have more potential because they are so much younger.”
And Campbell would know a thing or two about potential because that’s what he created his Vikings Hoops Camp for about a decade ago.
I think we’re a lot closer this year. I’ve known most of these guys all my life, and most of have been playing together for six years. Since second grade. That’s built chemistry with this team.
It was to have the chance to keep the talent coming into Puyallup while helping the players match their potential.
“What’s different about this team is that we have a lot of new guys — a lot of young guys that think about just playing hard and aggressive,” Myles Smith said. “That’s what we talk about every day — just competing hard on the floor. Whatever happens, happens.”
As Puyallup gets set to go to the Tamawanis Holiday Tournament in Surrey, British Columbia, this week, the Vikings feel good about their chances coming out of the break in the new year.
“We just have so much chemistry and we just trust each other,” Landen Neff said. “We all just have chemistry and team unity. We just get each other and it’s all love.”
Puyallup will open up the second half of the season with three games in the first week, starting with fourth-place Olympia (3-2) on Jan. 3 followed by games against Sumner (Jan. 4) and South Kitsap.
If Puyallup can fix what it can during the break in Surrey, then the Vikings have the chance to catch the league by surprise.
Puyallup may not have the varsity experience that Campbell has been used too, but after 10 years of playing together, there’s no denying this Viking team’s chemistry.
“There is little to no arguments whatsoever,” Brennan Winter said. “We’re always having a good time, and it’s fun to be around them. Especially playing with them. I think we’re going to have a good season.”