Taking the court at Tarkanian Basketball Academy on June 1, Boulder City High School senior basketball star Ethan Speaker rejoiced.
Having been sidelined from competitive basketball due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Speaker joined his Amateur Athletic Union travel team Las Vegas Knicks on Monday, marking the first time since Feb. 27 in the 3A state tournament with the Eagles that the star senior has been able to interact with teammates.
“We just started team practices,” Speaker said. “Everyone was happy to be out there. It felt great to be back on the court and play with my teammates again.”
Speaker said he is hopeful to make up for lost time, noting that the restrictions caused by COVID-19 have not been ideal for him.
Playing on the AAU summer basketball circuit with the Knicks 17u team, this summer was supposed to solidify Speaker’s place as a surefire Division I prospect. While competitive basketball games this summer remain on hold, so do Speaker’s chances of finding the right collegiate home.
“In my opinion Ethan is without question a Division I basketball player,” Boulder City High School head basketball coach John Balistere said. “I know the last few months haven’t exactly been ideal for him with all the restrictions put in place, but I trust that he’s staying in great shape. I’m really hopeful he gets to play some AAU basketball games this summer. I know this has taken a little toll on his recruiting and slowed things down for him, but I trust that he’ll find the right program.”
Acknowledging the impact that the pandemic has played on his recruiting process, Speaker is conscious of the situation, but is optimistic moving forward.
“This has definitely taken a tollon my recruiting because coaches I have been speaking to haven’t been able to see me play,” Speaker said. “I’m not worried though. I’m hopeful that there will still be chances to be seen.”
Preparing every day like his next opportunity is right around the corner, Speaker has remained busy during quarantine, staying in shape by practicing several hours a day at his house and various parks.
“I have been playing at the park or in front of my house almost every day to stay sharp,” Speaker said. “Playing with my teammates wasn’t ideal but I was able to play with my friends at the park to stay competitive.”
Although they are finally able to get back on the court and practice, there are no plans for AAU basketball games this summer at the moment. Ready for his chance whenever the opportunity does arrive, Speaker said he is ready to take the court by storm and regain his midseason form that saw him voted as 3A player of the year with the Eagles.
During his junior year, Speaker averaged 25.6 points, 11 rebounds and two steals per game.
Contact Robert Vendettoli at BCRsports@gmail.com.