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Senior tributes growth to coaches

Courtesy of the Cheema family

Cheema poses during his seventh grade basketball season.

From being the loudest student in the Nut House to senior captain on varsity basketball team, senior Suky Cheema is easily seen and heard around campus. Caring, considerate and understanding are words Cheema would use to describe himself. 

“I’m the kind of person that is there for people when they need me the most,” Cheema said. “I love helping people and making them feel better about whatever situation they may be in. I just want to help my friends or anyone with what they are struggling with because I can relate to them and we all go through those times.”

Cheema began attending FC in eighth grade and immediately showed his passion for basketball. Harkirat Cheema, Suky’s mother, says Suky started out playing soccer in elementary school for the early years in his life, until his mother and father encouraged him to start playing basketball in seventh grade.

“He was tall and we always encouraged him to play basketball,” Harkirat said. “He was over 22 inches tall, eight pounds and two ounces when he was born. He was a big boy.”

Cheema focused completely on academics in his early years at school until sixth grade when he tried out for his first basketball team. At first, he suffered from asthma in elementary school so his parents did not allow him to compete in athletics. Eventually, Cheema grew out of it, but to this day still carries his inhaler around.

Cheema started practicing basketball in his backyard by himself in fourth grade.

“I would always play basketball at recess or lunch on the playground,” Cheema said. “But in the fourth grade was when I started really getting into it. That’s when I realized I wanted to get better and actually try out for a team one day.”

Check out this tweet where Suky hit’s a game tying buzzer beater to send the game into overtime.

At his old house, his family took all the grass out and put in cement so he could practice. When Cheema began to start practicing at night, his dad put lights out so he could continue into the night. After watching the NBA finals or a playoff game, Cheema would go outside and try to remake the same moves the professionals had just performed.

“Some of the things I tried to get better at was shooting,” Cheema said. “I’m not the most athletic type to go and jump and dunk every time so I worked a lot on my shooting and dribble moves, which over the years I believe has developed really well and grown me as a player.”

Growing up, Cheema never got the one-on-one training that some kids do with their parents or other family members. However, during his freshman year, varsity basketball coach Mike Neal took Suky under his wing. As the all time leading scorer for FC basketball, Neal helped Cheema become a leader along with head coach Jon Penberthy.

In the following podcast, Max Munoz interviews Jon Penberthy about Suky Cheema.

Winning the Valley Championship and earning the ring is one of the goals Cheema has established for the team this year, while also striving to make first-team all-league and to be honored in the senior all-star game at the end of the year.

The amount of influence and value Suky brings to his team is shown in games and at practice. Teammate and second varsity captain Brandon Brogan, ‘19, shares his thoughts on why he enjoys playing with him.

Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

Cheema high fives his teammates as he is being announced as a starter.

“Suky is valuable to the team because he brings an energy that you can’t get out of most people,” Brogan said. “If he is on the bench, he is always cheering his teammates on and keeping the intensity up. I enjoy playing him, he’s one of the main reasons I joined basketball, and he makes practices a lot of fun with the amount of energy and goofiness he has.”

Cheema plans to attend a four year university after high school and major in sports medicine and become a physical therapist.

For more profiles, read Profile: Schultz strives for excellence on and off the court and Profile: Anthony Diaz values friends and family.

Max Munoz can be reached via email and via Twitter @maxmunozz.

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