By Lindsay Cronin
Photo by JDCHS junior Melissa McFarlane
The Juan Diego Catholic High School boys basketball team is looking to build on the success of last year. With a record of 19-6, the Soaring Eagle earned their first winning record since 2010 and had their highest number of wins since 2007.
This year, the team welcomes back two starters and complements them with the addition of new talent. Senior Gabe Colosimo had a total of 478 points, 88 rebounds and 109 assists last year. Already committed to play basketball at Seattle Pacific University, Colosimo is being described as one of the best, and perhaps most underrated point guards in the state.
The team also adds a new player in Maliik Fagan-Foster. Three other seniors (Chris Ward, Zach Nickles, and Joel Bruder), three juniors (Fagan-Foster, Avery Ames, and Alex Hoffman) and a sophomore (Connor Fulton) round out the top eight varsity players on the team, according to Coach Drew Trost.
In his second year of coaching the team, Trost believes this is a team that will compete at a high level.
“I think it’s the most talented team they’ve had here in a long time,” Trost says. “I have a lot of confidence in all the guys, but especially that top eight. I think they’re all ready to play a lot of minutes.”
Fagan-Foster, a junior forward on the team, is new to Juan Diego. Though Canada is his home, he says he came to Utah looking for a better education and wanted to continue developing his basketball skills. Although he dislikes the increase in the amount of homework he has compared to his old school, he is enjoying his new basketball team and Coach Trost.
“I like the chemistry we have together. We all get along,” Fagan-Foster said. “I like Coach Drew Trost because he pushes me to be better, he makes me work hard, and I wasn’t really used to that.”
Moving to Utah and coming to Juan Diego was an easy decision for Fagan-Foster, whose family supported him in the decision. He says he does miss his friends and family back home while he lives here with fellow junior Avery Ames and his family. He returns to Canada on Dec. 20 for five days to see his family.
“My mom (is my biggest inspiration),” Fagan-Foster said. “She’s always told me to work hard and do what you love and chase after your dreams and don’t let anybody tell you ‘you can’t do this’ or ‘you can’t do that.’”
“He’s a very difficult match-up at the high school level because he can play a lot of different positions, but he’s still a big kid,” Trost said. “He is also a tough kid and hard worker. He loves to dive on the floor and make hustle plays, which is a huge benefit to our team.”
The first time Fagan-Foster worked with the team, he says he knew they were going to be good, especially Colosimo, whose skill he instantly recognized. He believes in the team and has hope for a successful season, hopefully ending in a state championship.
“I think we have a really good team and we could (win state),” Fagan-Foster said.
Although it is early in the season, both Trost and Fagan-Foster agree the chemistry on the team is looking strong and the players have all welcomed the new players with open arms.
But there is always room for improvement. The early part of the season featured a close game against East High, won on a last-second shot by Colosimo, that came on the heels of the Soaring Eagle’s first loss. Through eight games, Juan Diego was 6-2. Trost hopes the chemistry and effort continues to improve throughout the season.
“I think that if we can get them to play as hard as our team did last year and at the same toughness, that it can be truly a special season,” Trost said. “I’m looking forward to see how we jell as a team and if we can get that same kind of effort out of them.”
Trost believes Fagan-Foster can continue to improve his personal basketball skills with the help of his new school.
“JD challenges and helps Maliik grow in many ways,” Trost said. “It pushes him a lot academically and also socially as he gets used to a bigger school. He came from a pretty small school. He is learning to balance the high expectations in the classroom and on the court.”
Trost knows he wants to capitalize and build on the success of his first year with the program.
“I want to firmly establish a Juan Diego basketball brand,” Trost said. “I want our opponents to fear our defense and to know that our players are going to be relentless in pressure, hard work, hustle and toughness.”