Senior reminisces basketball memories through 4-year tenure
As four-year varsity basketball player, senior Wyatt Koop has spent considerable time on the court throughout his high school experience. However, Koop has forged many memories during his four years.
Wyatt ended up trying out for the team his freshmen year. Not thinking that he would make the varsity team, head coach Jon Penberthy decided to give him a shot in the varsity rotation.
“My coaches and teammates have helped me a lot over my two years playing basketball,” Koop said. “They have always given me support and have always pushed me to become the best possible player that I can be. One of my favorite moments throughout my 4 years on varsity is when we went to Selland Arena two years ago. It was a great experience even though we lost.
“Also, hitting a buzzer beater my freshman year was pretty exciting as well,” Koop continued. “My goal for basketball was to win at Selland Arena before I graduated. Let’s hope we can do that this season.”
Jon Penberthy has relied on Koop to work as his unsung hero through his four years of coaching him. Penberthy knew he possessed all the potential to become the player is today.
“Wyatt needed a place to grow as a basketball player,” Penberthy said. “The JV was stacked that year and Wyatt would be pressed to get minutes so we brought him up to varsity to try and accelerate his learning curve and because he was a hard worker. He did what was asked, played here and there and when he got minutes, he played really well.
“As far as advice,” Penberthy continued. “It’s been work hard, use your summer time to get stronger and to develop your game as much as possible. He has come a long way from his freshman year and I’m proud to see the leaps he’s taken.”
His dad has also played a very big role in his life with basketball. Micheal Koop made sure to stay active in his sons life and make sure he fulfilled his potential.
“I knew that he was fully committed in playing basketball his eighth grade year,” Micheal said. “His mother and I are very proud of him, he has worked very hard on and off the court to improve. He has taken to heart what the coaches have asked him to do and strives to reach those goals, through his action he has become a leader. It is not about only making yourself better but the team as a whole better.”
After playing varsity his freshman year, Penberthy and his coaching staff decided to send him down to JV for his sophomore year. Koop was not doing anything wrong, but this allowed him to receive more playing time.
My coaches and teammates have helped me a lot over my two years playing basketball. They have always given me support and have always pushed me to become the best possible player that I can be. — Wyatt Koop
He ended up making the jump back to varsity around the end of the season after impressing the JV and varsity coaching staff that season.
His teammates hold nothing but positive things to say about him. Ronnie Peterson, ‘19, has also been in the basketball program since his freshman year.
“Wyatt and I have good chemistry on the court,” Peterson said. “I think communication was a big key for the both of us. That’s why we work really well together. I can just look at Wyatt now and give him a look and we’ll know what we’re going to be doing on the very next play. Wyatt is a very good player and he’s a selfless player. He can be relied on and I’m glad he is our team captain this year.”
In his senior year, Koop received the nod as captain of the varsity team. He aims to lead them to victory and ultimately complete his goal of being a valley champion.
“When we went to Selland Arena my sophomore year, it was really overwhelming,” Koop said. “We were the 14th and last seed for playoffs and we rallied together as a family and a team. We went up against Kern Valley and it was a close game throughout. Unfortunately, we fell short. There were positives though: we had potential and strength. God has given us abilities that we must put into action and I think throughout that month of playoffs, we did just that.”
For Koop, there have been many setbacks and injuries along his four-year career. Suffering those injuries have driven him to come back better than before.
Wyatt has also kept up with his grades ever since his freshman year, maintaining at least a 3.0 GPA every single year.
Koop plans to go to Clovis Community College and remains undecided regarding his major.
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