Friendship through basketball


Rylyn Wang, Staff writer

The ref blows their whistle. He steps onto the free throw line, bounces once, twice, spin and releases the ball up and into the net. Phwweet! 

Sophomores Matthew Chou and Max Wang joined the National Junior Basketball (NJB) Spring League with a couple of their friends, practicing every Tuesday from 6:45-7:45 p.m. at the Walnut Teen Center. 

“Basketball is pretty fun because I like to play with my friends,” Chou said. “We wanted to start a basketball team, so [I] gathered three of my other friends together [to make one]. Then, we tried to find a league – NJB – and signed up for it.”

NJB is a youth basketball league for children grades K-12 to utilize for fitness, fun and more physical involvement with basketball. Currently, six teams play in the spring league and victory is given to the team with the best record wins.

“It’s like a [recreational] league with different people from different schools,” Wang said. “The coach is one of our friends. We requested to have three people on our team and the rest of the people were put in randomly.”

They have won three games so far and have five more to go. During practices, they go over several shooting and passing drills and plays to prepare themselves for the games. 

“I enjoy five-on-five scrimmages the best,” Chou said. “After our drills, with 15 to 20 minutes left, we would play against another team, like a game. I like it because it gives me more playing experience and helps me build chemistry with my team.”

Since elementary school, Chou and Wang have enjoyed playing basketball and have joined outside clubs and leagues such as Uptempo and Walnut Youth Basketball. They’ve known each other for a few years, but only started playing together as a team a year ago. 

“I like the speed of the game, [its] competitiveness and just playing in general,” Wang said. “We aren’t planning to join the summer league because most of us have other sports. To us, this is just for fun. It’s a secondary thing, kind of chill.”