BELVIDERE, Ill. (WTVO) – The season may be over for boys’ basketball, but one local school is still collecting wins.
The Belvidere North High School boys’ basketball team won the “Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Academic All-State Team.” Their head coach said that the team talks a lot about being committed versus interested.
The team broke even for their overall record of 16-16 this season, but stats do not reflect the work they have been putting in off the court.
“A lot of times people see what we do on the court, but they don’t know what they do in the classroom,” said Todd Brannan, head boys’ basketball coach at Belvidere North.
The team is celebrating the win, but not because of what is on the scoreboard. Instead, it is the numbers on their report cards.
“You have a lot of fun on Friday nights when you’re playing here, but ultimately, you know, if they’re getting it done academically, hopefully that leads into college,” Brannan said.
The entire team penciled in a 3.82 GPA, including five players with a perfect 4.0. Aaron Winters, a senior, is one of them. He is headed to play football at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
“From a young age, my parents always put some pressure on me like, ‘grades come first and then it’s athletics,'” Winters said.
What started at home continued with Coach Brannan. He requires players to go tutoring if they fall behind on their classwork, but he said his student-athletes make his job easier.
“You know, I would like to say I played a big role in it, but they are disciplined, they do the work by themselves,” Brannan said. “It’s pretty cut and dry here. You either get the grades or you don’t. “
Many players on the team, including Winters, are multi-sport athletes. He said that staying focused is not always easy, but worth it.
“Sometimes you just have to make those sacrifices, but you know, you’ll get those chances to hang with your friends more so in the future, and if you work hard in the classroom, it’ll pay off in the future,” Winters said.
This is Brannan’s fourth year at Belvidere North. His team is very young, with only two seniors graduating this year, so it will be fun to see what the returning players do next year.