By Reed Jaworski
“I’d never be able to do it without my teammates,” said Dom DeRegis, the humble captain and senior of the Jamesville-DeWitt High School Varsity Boys basketball team.
Earlier this basketball season, DeRegis, cool as a cucumber, sunk the winning freethrow during a tie game to hold off Bishop Ludden in a statement match. Deregis, who led the J-DHS Varisty Boys basketball team with 18 points, was shortly thereafter named New Channel 9’s Athlete of the Week, an honor bestowed upon athletes who have proven themselves in all areas of their respective sport.
“He was definitely deserving [of being Athlete of the Week], but I think he got it because of his good looks,” said senior teammate Ben Wipper. Although somewhat joking, Wipper explained his statement, saying that it is the little things, the untrackable statistics, and the attitude that DeRegis brings every day that have culminated into the player who deserves to be honored. These intangibles are the things that set DeRegis above the rest of the pack.
The intangibles may have also accounted for J-DHS’s success over Ludden in that down to the wire game. The past two seasons, J-DHS has been a dismal 0-4 against the Gaelic Knights of Ludden, even when boasting high school stand-out, and current Division I men’s basketball player, Jafar Kinsey. Although the talent of Kinsey may have greatly benefitted the J-DHS team, skills alone don’t dictate the outcome of the game: effort does.
“[DeRegis] really lifts up the whole team energy and dynamic,” said senior teammate Jacob Eich. Eich explained that whenever the J-DHS team hits a slump or dry spell, they can always depend on DeRegis, as he is “the guy we can go through if we need anything.”
However, being Mr. Dependable on the basketball squad is a new role that DeRegis has had to take on for his senior season. Although DeRegis had great sophomore and junior seasons, averaging 12.9 and 14.6 points per game respectively, he was overshadowed by the aforementioned Kinsey. Despite what his stats, and moreso what his teammates say, Deregis believes the team’s success has come because of “the team stepping up as a whole.”
J-DHS Varsity Boys Basketball Head Coach Bob McKenney agrees with DeRegis, saying that having nine seniors means having a great deal of experience, but that “Dom has taken a very prominent role in leading.”
Whether or not DeRegis sees himself as a leader, it is quite evident that he is the backbone of the team. The experience that DeRegis brings from being a three year player is really what contributes to the team’s success, said junior teammate Jimmy Boeheim. “[DeRegis] not only looks to make himself better, but also everybody on the team, and because of that we trust him, and we know he’s making the right decision,” said Boeheim.
Like Eich and Boeheim, Wipper sees DeRegis as the trustworthy leader of the basketball team. To analogize DeRegis’s role on the team, Wipper compares him to the Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi from “Star Wars: a New Hope.”
This might seem like a strange analogy, but it certainly shows a lot about DeRegis and the team as a whole. Literally speaking, Kenobi was the master of his art, manipulating the force for good, and wanted the best for all of his followers. In turn, his followers respected and trusted his actions. From Wipper’s “Star Wars” analogy, it is easy to draw parallels to DeRegis, but it certainly doesn’t end there.
“Star Wars,” as Wipper mentioned, is just one of the many things that the basketball team has bonded over. Whether it be having nicknames for each other or always referring to themselves as “the guys,” the team has certainly developed a lot of chemistry. And with each game, DeRegis, with his leadership and poise on the courts, strengthens the bond the team has. Afterall, “when you look that handsome, there’s no way you can’t have chemistry,” said Wipper.